Ottawa consultants list journalists to counter election misinformation

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Federal consultants have compiled a list of 25 journalists who could be invited to a two-day training session on the proper way to cover the general election, according to freedom of information records.

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The Department of Canadian Heritage retained the files for three years under the Access to Information Act, reports Blacklock reporter.

The consulting company Public Policy Forum, whose chairman and chief executive is Edward Greenspon, former vice-president of the Toronto Star — comment denied.

And the names of journalists and their approved newsrooms have been censored.

“A critical first step in this initiative is to introduce a broad network of Canadian journalists, civil society leaders and media executives to the issues surrounding disinformation, the story and the implications it has had on elections. precedents and best practices to counter it,” said a memo, The Democracy Monitor by the Public Policy Forum.

Without providing Canadian examples, Greenspon said in memos that the internet was “filled with trade in misinformation and hate” and that there was a need to “ensure a steady flow of reliable information.”

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The Federal Communications Security Establishment has run a $7 million a year program since 2019 to monitor foreign disinformation and nothing has been found.

However, Greenspon said trusted media needed federal guidance to properly cover politics.

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“Special challenges may include misinformation and hate speech against immigrants or Indigenous peoples, foreign targeting of diaspora groups in Canada, misdirection of crises to spread conspiracies (for example, following attack on a Quebec City mosque or a Toronto van), spreading lies in the local news deserts and attempting to exacerbate existing tensions in the national fabric (e.g. East-West, Anglophone-Francophone , etc.),” he wrote.

The Ottawa-based Forum has received nearly $2.6 million in federal grants to run a digital democracy project that expires in 2023.

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