MEDIA RELEASE: Public Policy Forum releases second report from its Canadian Commission on Democratic Expression initiative

Provides urgent call to make online platforms more transparent and accountable

Ottawa, Ontario, CANADA

Ottawa, Canada, May 05, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Ottawa, ON (May 5, 2022) – The Public Policy Forum has released its second report from its Canadian Commission on Democratic Expression initiative. The report – titled Canadian Commission on Democratic Expression: How to Make Online Platforms More Transparent and Accountable to Canadian Users – shares a renewed call for the government, regulators and digital platforms to immediately implement thoughtful principles and policies that help combat the erosion of Canadian democracy caused by the pervasive nature of digital communications platforms. 

To achieve a better balance of power over digital communication technologies, including social media, the report lays out well-researched, strategic policies and principles based on transparency, accountability and user empowerment. It notes that implementing such policies and regulations would drastically help protect democracy in Canada from the societal harms of misinformation, disinformation and hate-inspiring content that is posted, shared and amplified through digital platforms.  

“Canadians live in a free, democratic and rights-based society where free expression is an essential principle,” says Commission’s Co-Chair, The Right Honourable Beverley McLachlin, PC, CC. “It is also undeniable, however, that the permeation of disinformation, conspiracy theories and hateful rhetoric is happening online and undermining our democratic values and systems. With our latest report, we knew we had to further examine this monumental challenge facing Canadians, in order to present practical solutions to preserve democracy.” 

“Online spaces have become less trustworthy and safe,” says Taylor Owen, Commission’s Co-Chair, PPF Fellow and Associate Professor at the Max Bell School of Public Policy at McGill University. “We need to think of online spaces as consumer facing products that require product safety standards. The tsunami of harm from the online sphere is distorting democracy on a daily basis, and subsequently damaging relationships in families and communities offline as well.” 

Led by the Public Policy Forum, the Canadian Commission on Democratic Expression is a three-year initiative that examines the state of Canada’s democracy in relation to digital communication technologies and sets out policy recommendations annually for how these platforms can be strengthened for the public good. 

The Commission’s findings were informed by the 27 recommendations put forth in January this year by a complementary 42-person representative Citizen’s Assembly on Democratic Expression run by MASS LBP, as well as an independent research program led by the Centre for Media, Technology and Democracy at McGill University. This project is funded by the Department of Canadian Heritage and the McConnell Foundation.

For further information or to set up interviews, please contact: 
Hannah Yakobi 
Vice-President, Marketing, Communications and Events 
Public Policy Forum

About Public Policy Forum
The Public Policy Forum builds bridges among diverse participants in the policy-making process and gives them a platform to examine issues, offer new perspectives and feed fresh ideas into critical policy discussions. We contribute by conducting research on critical issues, convening candid dialogues on research subjects and recognizing exceptional leaders. PPF is an independent, non-partisan charity, whose members are a diverse group of private, public and non-profit organizations.


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