German-Canadian Media Symposium

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German-Canadian Media Symposium

April 24 @ 1:00 pm - 7:30 pm EDT

(Un)Truth – Journalism and Democracy in the Digital Age

Fake news, phony facts — and the increasing use of pejorative terms like lying press for the media — undermine the public’s trust in journalism and erode the foundations of democracy. The lifeblood of democracy is a common understanding of facts based on journalistic standards of accuracy and integrity. How can media professionals amplify the facts in the pursuit of  common ground, and, in the process, strengthen our beleaguered democracies?

With a collaborative problem solving approach, and with the floor always open for questions and comments, the (Un) Truth – Journalism and Democracy in the Digital Age symposium explores a cross-pollination of perspectives and tools from Germany and Canada.

The German-Canadian Media Symposium is co-hosted by  the German Consulate General in Toronto, Massey College, and the University of Toronto (Communications).


Please RSVP here via Eventbrite.



With Moderator Jeffrey Dvorkin, director of the journalism program at the University of Toronto (Scarborough); formerly with CBC and NPR News; and a Senior Fellow at Massey College.

Opening Keynote 1:15 – 1:55 p.m. – “Media and Democracy in Crisis Mode? On the Ground in Germany”

Ursula Weidenfeld is a German business journalist, author, columnist and presenter. She also serves as media councilor for the media institute Berlin Brandenburg. Her recent book “Government without People” discusses the entwined relationship of a crisis in democracy and a media crisis.

Gregor Mayntz is the chairman of the German Federal Press Conference, an association that invites representatives of the federal government, political parties and individuals of nationwide political importance to weekly press conferences, where he is working as chief reporter.

Panel Discussion 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. – Media and Democracy in Crisis Mode? On the Ground in Canada

Jessica Johnson is executive editor and creative director of The Walrus, Canada’s leading general interest magazine. She is a former reporter and editor with The Globe and Mail and National Post, and has contributed features and essays to a range of North American publications.

Peter Loewen is a Professor in the Department of Political Science and the Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy at the University of Toronto. Loewen is substantively interested in how citizens and politicians make decisions and in how technology can improve and impair governance and technology.

Naheed Mustafa is a producer at CBC Radio, Ideas. One of her recent documentaries addressed, “Journalism’s Knife Fight: Fact vs. Truth.” Her work documenting conflict and war in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and the impact on civilian populations, has appeared in both Canadian and international media.

Elizabeth Renzetti is a bestselling Canadian author and journalist. A journalist for more than two decades, Elizabeth’s popular column runs weekly in the Globe and Mail, where she is also a feature writer.

Case Studies 3:15 – 4:55 p.m. – Tools to Rebuild Trust

Dagmar Ellerbrock is the current Hannah Arendt Visiting Chair at the Munk School of Global Affairs. she is particularly concerned with emotions and violence, but at the same time with trust, degradation and shame rhetoric under the Nazi regime in Germany.

Kathy English has been the public editor at the Toronto Star since 2007, responsible for transparency and accountability standards across Torstar’s many news organizations.

Behzad Tabibian is an AI-researcher and PhD candidate at Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems in Tübingen. He has experience working at Amazon in Berlin and Seattle as a Machine Learning Scientist intern and at Facebook as a Research Scientist intern. He is a co-founder of a new startup, Reasonal.

Closing Keynote with Q&A 5:00 – 5:45 p.m. – “Tracking a Growing Epidemic: Targeted Espionage Against Global Civil Society”

Ronald Deibert is the director of the Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto and co-founder and a principal investigator of the OpenNet Initiative and Information Warfare Monitor projects. His research focuses on high-level strategic policy and legal engagement at the intersection of information and communication technologies.

Reception 6:00-7:30pm

If you are unable to attend in person, but would like to follow the event, a web stream will be available here:



April 24
1:00 pm - 7:30 pm


Upper Library
4 Devonshire Place
Toronto, Ontario M5S 2E1 Canada
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