Citizens Demand Democratic Media

For immediate release
October 23, 2008

Canadians in several cities join together to educate fellow citizens on media and communication issues.

Late October marks the 8th consecutive year of Media Democracy Day activities in Canada.

Media Democracy Day (MDD) is a multi-city forum including panels, workshops, training sessions and speakers addressing media and communications issues.

In both Toronto and Vancouver citizens have already taken to the streets to engage fellow residents in the media and communication issues dealt with at Media Democracy Day. In Toronto citizens put together a cardboard TV prop and asked Toronto residents to tell people what they think is missing in media while filming it.

Video available at:

In Vancouver citizens disgruntled by the fact that they live in one of the most concentrated media markets in North America, blanketed the streets with posters comprised of simple statements: "Who's view", and "Who's Voice". Posters can be seen at:

A Growing Citizens Movement

In 2002, an Ipsos-Reid poll found that 86 per cent of Canadians believed that the federal government should do something to alleviate public concerns about media concentration. In 2007, the CRTC Diversity of Voices hearing resulted in an outpouring of nearly 2,000 submissions from citizens calling for more democratic media ownership rules. And the recent Canwest/ Goldman Sachs/Alliance Atlantis deal was met with well-attended public events through the Keep It Canadian campaign.

net neutrality rally
The recent conspicuous activities of Bell Canada and other dominant ISPs who “throttle” Internet service have sparked a national movement, including the diverse coalition consisting of public interest and labour groups, businesses, and individuals. In May, public concern boiled over resulting in a net neutrality rally, with several hundred people on Parliament Hill demanding government action.

Steve Anderson, organizer of Media Democracy Day 2008 Vancouver, says that "clearly Canadians are unhappy with direction our media system is going, a public forum on media issues, has become a lightning rod for these sentiments. I'm thrilled to see such a full and diverse roster of speakers, workshops and panels, as well as so many engaged citizens, in so many cities across Canada"

Kim Elliott, one of the organizers of Media Democracy Day Toronto, and publisher of rabble: "Truly, if there is one thing missing from the mainstream media it is the diversity of voices and perspectives so crucial to ensuring that no one set of interests – largely the corporate interests of the highly concentrated media giants – can drown out all others."

Vancouver Details:

What: A series of exciting panels, workshops and speakers including:

*Rex Weyler - Co-founder of Green Peace
*Michael Tippett - Co-founder of
*Steve Anderson - National Co-ordinator of Campaign for Democratic Media
*Robert Hackett - professor at SFU and author of "Remaking Media"
*Andrea Hayley - president of the Epoch Times Vancouver
*Robert Scales – CEO of RainCity Studios
*David Beers - Publisher – The Tyee
*Charlie Smith - Editor of the Georgia Straight
*Deborah Campbell - Award Winning Independent Journalist
*Gurpreet Singh - Broadcaster on Radio India, freelance columnist for
Surrey Now, freelance reporter for South Asian Post
*Matt Thompson - Campaign Strategist for FreePress, Co-Founder of

When: Saturday, October 25, 2008, 12pm to 6 p.m. (workshops and panels); 9 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. (MDD Take Back the Mic after party).

Where: Free workshops and panels at at the Vancouver Public Library, 350 West Georgia Street; MDD Take Back the Mic after party (suggested $5 to $20 donation to Campaign for Democratic Media) at the VIVO MEDIA ARTS CENTRE (1965 Main Street, Vancouver, BC V5T 3C1)

For program details and a list of participating organizations please visit:

Toronto Details:

Missing in the Media: Media Democracy Day hits Toronto on October 23

What is missing in the media? Who is left out from mainstream news coverage in Canada today? A large coalition of independent media organizations, advocacy groups and media activists will ask these questions and more at "Missing in the Media: Media Democracy Day Toronto 2008," taking place all day on October 23.

What: A series of thematic and skills-building panels and workshops on media democracy followed by a relaunch party with guest speakers Maude Barlow and musical guests LAL and Maryam Tollar.

When: Thursday, October 23, 2008, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (workshops and panels); 8 p.m. to 11 p.m ( relaunch party).

Where: Free workshops and panels at International Student Centre (33 St. George Street), University of Toronto; Pay-what-you-can relaunch party (suggested $10 to $25 donation to at the Steam Whistle Roundhouse (255 Bremner Blvd.)

For full program details and a list of participating organizations please visit: www.missinginthemedia.c and

Workshop highlights:

* Citizen Media Panel

* Documentary film-making

* How to Podcast

* How to do on-line video

* Reporting on Afghanistan and Homelessness

* Net Neutrality: with Free Press's Matt Thompson

* Justin Podur on "Left Punditry"

* Campus Community Radio

* Open Source and New Media

And more! 15 workshops in all!

Montreal Details

What: workshops covering everything you want and need to know about producing stelar community radio

When: October 25th and 26th, 2008, 11am - 4pm . (workshops and panels)

Where: CKUT Radio (3647 University)

This past week Kingston and Ottawa also held Media Democracy Day events, details at:


Caroline Warwick

Steve Anderson

Kim Elliott

The full programme and further information on Media Democracy Day is available at

For more information on media issues visit