Does the media promote healthy public policy debate or does it mostly sensationalize issues? Often referred to as the fourth branch of government, the media plays an important role in liberal democracies. Its purpose is to provide citizens with information on public policy developments and government accomplishments. At the same time, it should also provide opportunities for citizens to critique initiatives and propose alternative policies.
On Sept. 15, from 6 to 9pm, the Public & International Affairs Graduate Student Association (PIASA) at Glendon College will be hosting an open conference titled: “The Fourth Branch: Politics and Policy through the Lens of Media.” The event will take place in the BMO Conference Centre of the Glendon campus of York University. The bilingual conference will feature the following panelists:
- Éric Montpetit, political science professor at the University of Montreal and author of The Politics of Biotechnology in North America and Europe: Policy Networks, Institutions and Internationalization
- Dimitri Soudas, former director of communications in the Prime Minister’s Office and managing partner at Stampede Group
- Étienne Fortin-Gauthier, journalist at TFO
- Tiffany Gooch, political consultant at Enterprise Canada
“It is the perfect time to be hosting a conference on politics and media,” said Melissa Felian, president of PIASA and conference organizer. “The U.S. presidential race has been highly mediatized. The media is covering policy almost just as much as it covers personal lives of the candidates. Even here at home, we seem to have a lot of coverage surrounding our Prime Minister’s vacation and his social media savvy, but what about his policies? When citizens are aware of the policies they can make informed choices on how they will vote. The media has a bigger role in our democracy than we realize.
Felian said the association considers itself fortunate to attract panelists from a range of backgrounds. An academic will offer a different perspective on political media coverage than a journalist.
The conference is open to the public and hopes to generate some interesting discussion around politics and media. All are welcome to attend.
The Glendon School of Public & International Affairs is a unique Canadian institution, combining comprehensive bilingualism with a focus upon both public and international affairs.
For more information, visit the Glendon School of Public & International Affairs website.