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Canadian Media Missing from World Social Forum

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February 4, 2005

Canadian Media Missing from World Social Forum

The Canadian media have been criticized for their lack of coverage of the World Social Forum in Porto Allegre, Brazil this year. While Canadian and American media flocked to Davos, Switzerland to cover the World Economic Forum, an exclusive gathering of CEOs, celebrities and world leaders, they were, according to critics, completely missing in action from this year's Social Forum.

Paradoxically, the meeting of 100,000 representatives of social movements in East Asia, India, the Middle East, Africa, Oceania, Europe and the Americas was the largest ever and was touted by some attendees as a breakthrough for global justice movements.

The Globe and Mail and Toronto Star did not run any stories on the World Social Forum. And while the CBC web site featured three wire stories that mentioned the Social Forum, it featured 24 stories on the World Economic Forum.

Dr. Elizabeth Smythe, a professor of political science at Concordia University College in Edmonton who attended this year's forum, said that the lack of attention to the Social Forum is part of a larger pattern in Canadian media coverage. "Much of the focus even of our news is on isolated events, individuals and what might more broadly be called infotainment... [not on] social structures and economic processes that generate inequality."

"When media focus on politics, it is often in the context of electoral competitions and scandals of individual politicians, not on citizens participating in their community life... what the WSF is about."

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The Dominion is a monthly paper published by an incipient network of independent journalists in Canada. It aims to provide accurate, critical coverage that is accountable to its readers and the subjects it tackles. Taking its name from Canada's official status as both a colony and a colonial force, the Dominion examines politics, culture and daily life with a view to understanding the exercise of power.

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