"This is not just a fight for the integrity of the ballot box. This is a battle to defend and strengthen the foundations of Canadian civil society:" Digital Fractures. Disinformation, Democracy and the Media
VANCOUVER, BC, Oct. 9, 2020 /CNW/ - Disinformation campaigns aimed at disrupting political institutions and civil society are not just happening beyond our borders, they are taking place right here in Canada, according to a major report detailing how the 2019 federal election campaign was impacted.
Digital Fractures. Disinformation, Democracy and the Media details the ways in which disinformation spread deeper into civil society during last year's election campaign, causing disruption and confusion, and how it has been allowed to continue.
It also challenges Canadians to rethink our approach to defending democracy and warns us all that this is not only about safeguarding elections, but always remaining vigilant.
"Bad actors can simply turn to manipulating the conversations and opinions between elections that determine their eventual outcomes," according to the report. "And there's every sign they're doing exactly that."
Given the events that are unfolding as the U.S. presidential election approaches, the report comes at an extremely relevant juncture, as our democratic systems are under threat from a contagion of disinformation.
Digital Fractures is written by Caroline Orr, a social sciences scholar and expert on Donald Trump, Russia and propaganda, who joined Canada's National Observer last year as a research analyst.
Says National Observer editor-in-chief Linda Solomon Wood: "This report serves as an important chronology of events, part of the larger history of defending and strengthening Canadian democracy. But even more important, it deepens our understanding of the evolving nature of those campaigns."
The release of Digital Fractures also coincides with a series of "Conversations" between Solomon Wood and Canadian and American experts on disinformation and political communications, marking the fifth anniversary of Canada's National Observer.
The first "Conversation" with Richard Fadden, former director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), took place Thursday, in which he said Canadians were "ostrich-like" for thinking disinformation is not happening here.
He called for a Royal Commission to look at the spread of misinformation in Canada, to understand it and the dangers it poses to our democracy.
"Democracy only really works if people are prepared to compromise, if people are prepared to be tolerant, if people are willing to listen to each other's words and messages. There is far too little of that," said Fadden.
Canada's National Observer publishes investigative reporting, in-depth analysis, solutions journalism, multi-media features, opinion and daily news coverage. We pursue stories that seek to identify and explore problems in society. We also cover success and innovation to ensure that decision makers and members of the public are empowered to make informed choices. We have a special focus on how governments and industry make decisions as well as the factors that influence their policies.
SOURCE Canada''s National Observer