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Halifax International Symposium on Media and Disinformation
16 Jun 2004
The Halifax symposium aims to bring the world to the voices of those marginalized by disinformation and validate them.
Halifax International Symposium on Media and Disinformation

Opening Reception/Ceilidh-Spoken Word 7:30 pm, June 30, 2004

July 1-4, 2004 - Dalhousie University - Halifax, Nova Scotia
FASS Building, University Avenue

Invitation to Participate

This International Symposium aims to deal with one of the most pressing matters facing journalists, media and culture workers, and all sections of the people -- disinformation. The main aim of the Symposium is to empower journalists and collectives of the people by definitively exposing the modus operandi and extent of disinformation, presenting the experience of journalists and activists across Canada and abroad in tackling it, and to consolidate the long-term struggle for its elimination.

That disinformation exists is well established. The international situation has become increasingly dangerous, filled with tension between the peoples and the big powers and amongst the big powers themselves. Disinformation has emerged as one of their most powerful weapons against peace and humanity. The whole world is discussing how the invasion and occupation of Iraq was justified by lies and deceptions. But disinformation extends far beyond isolated examples; whether it is the manipulation of "democracy" or of "human rights" or of "nuclear-non-proliferation" to justify interference in the internal affairs of sovereign nations and even launch pre-emptive aggression, it has become so pervasive that it is the central rule, rather than the exception.

Disinformation -- as distinct from misinformation -- relies on mystifying the basis of change, development and motion in society, and reduces objective reality to a matter of interpretation, debate and discussion. Whether it is the "clash of civilizations" or the thesis of "rogue" or "failed" states, disinformation relies on the ideological content of imperialism.

For example, people simply are not able to understand the Palestinian crisis as anything other that an "ethnic clash," because they are not provided with information about the whole reality. They are not provided with the context needed to come to any other conclusion than the pre-determined one: a hopeless "cycle of violence."

The manipulation of information, the invention of pretexts, the falsification of reality, and turning people against their own interests is itself facilitated by the monopoly control over the media, and the process of neo-liberal globalization. The unprecedented concentration of media and power enables a tiny handful of moguls with a preconceived agenda to deploy colossal resources to dictate what is published and what is not, who is hired and who is fired, all with the aim of disorienting people and usurping any healthy discussion. Under the veneer of being "fair and balanced" and even "objective," this media normalizes bias, disregards and changes essential facts, and ignores and suppresses all those voices presenting information and independent views.

Disinformation is not just a matter of a foreign policy adventure of Bush or Blair, but has become a general method for imperial dictate and monopoly right in the overall neo-liberal assault on conscience and enlightenment, and the sovereign and democratic rights of nations and peoples.

The Symposium will feature discussions of disinformation and how it operates at the local, regional, national, and global levels. We invite media workers, scholars, First Nations, labour, fishermen and farmer's organizers, anti-war and environmental activists, publishers and other concerned groups or individuals to present their experience and expertise of disinformation. We are inviting journalists from Cuba, Venezuela, Haiti, Palestine and other countries to share their rich experience in fighting disinformation and interference in their affairs.

Hostility towards the monopoly media is pronounced. Some are concerned about the Americanization, some dislike the sensationalism, some say that coverage is distorted, and others say that reality is ignored altogether. But all express dissatisfaction and outrage. The media, increasing numbers of people are realizing, does not serve them, and even acts as a barrier to dealing with the pressing issues they face.

These concerns have given rise to an explosion of new and independent media on a global scale, as a voice to address peoples' rights and concerns.

Those who are initiating this conference have professional backgrounds in independent journalism and publishing, in radio, print, film, books, and on the Internet. This Symposium is open to everyone who is deeply concerned about disinformation, the mass media and the kind of information and culture they represent. This Symposium has been borne out of this concern. We share the conviction that now is the time to develop our collective capability to influence the course of events. It is the responsibility of those who stand for the truth to thoroughly deal with the question of disinformation. We are building a space where we can deal with the question, and advance the long work of combatting disinformation and building an independent media.

Let all those concerned about fighting disinformation converge on Halifax!


shunpiking magazine - Tony Seed, editor/publisher

CKDU Radio (Halifax NS) 97.5 FM - Pierre Loiselle, Spoken Word Co-ordinator

The Dominion - Dru Oja Jay, editor/publisher


CHMA Radio (Sackville NB)

Fernwood Publishing Co. Ltd. (Black Point NS) - Errol Sharpe, publisher

Ideological Studies Centre (Ottawa ON/Gatineau QC) (Washington DC) - Kendall Clark, editor

Montreal Muslim News - Yahya Abdul Rahman, editor

Wake Up with Co-op (CFRO Vancouver BC) - Charles Boylan, host


Hassan Abbas, Fellow, Harvard Law School; PhD candidate, Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy, Tufts University; currently working in the field of Islamic and international law and jihad. Author of two books (latest due Summer 2004), he served formerly as a police officer in Pakistan

Active Voice Coalition (Prince George BC)

Axis of Logic (Boston MA) - Les Blough, editor

Christopher Anderson (New York NY), PhD candidate in Communications, Columbia U.; editor, NYC-Independent Media Centre

Dr Labeeb B'Soul (Halifax NS), professor, Comparative Religion, Dalhousie University
Barbara Biley (Comox BC), hospital worker

Hernando Calvo Ospina (France), Colombian journalist; contributor, Le monde diplomatique; author, The Cuban Exile Movement: Dissidents or Mercenaries, Bacardi: The Hidden War, and seven other books; currently working on a book about Reporters Sans Frontières

Canada Palestine Association - Dr. Ismail Zayid, president

Canpalnet-Ottawa, member of the Canada Palestine Support Network

Caravan, CKUT Radio (Montreal QC)

Walid Chahal, contract lecturer, Sociology/Political Science, Lakehead University (Thunder Bay ON)

Noam Chomsky (Cambridge MA), professor of Linguistics, MIT, writer or co-author since 1969 of more than 80 books, including, with Edward S Herman, The political economy of human rights and Manufacturing consent: The political economy of the mass media

CHSR 97.9 FM University of New Brunswick Student Radio (Fredericton NB)

Isra'a Dabbour (Halifax), computer programmer and Palestinian commentator

Dal Gazette, Dalhousie University's student newspaper
Dalhousie Students for Peace and Justice (Halifax)

Mark Daye (Halifax), CEO, Diversity Plus; Afro-Nova Scotian community activist; former publisher The Rap

Demockery's Demize, CKUO 89.1 FM (University of Ottawa)

Lindsay Dobbin (Halifax)

Dr Hassan El-Najjar (Dalton GA), editor, Al-Jazeerah
En Camino (Toronto ON)

En-Visions Productions Inc. (Halifax) - Charles Lapp and Bill McKiggan, filmmakers

Greg Felton (New Westminster BC), columnist, and Alberta Arab News; author, Enemies of Necessity (July 2004)

Anthony Fenton (Vancouver), journalist

Phillip Fernandez (Toronto), spokesperson, People's Front, Valerie Zink and Jon Elmer

Rolf Gerstenberger (Hamilton ON), president, United Steelworkers of America Local 1005

Gerry and Jose Gladwin (Wolfville NS), teacher (Volkskayak) and librarian
Don Grady, vice-president, South West Nova Scotia Fishermens' Rights Association (Cape Sable Island NS)

Halifax People's Voice, Newsletter of the People's Front (Halifax)

Dr Anthony Hall (Lethbridge AB), founding co-ordinator, Globalization Studies, University of Lethbridge; author, The American Empire and the Fourth World

Don Hill, host, Wild Rose Forum, CBC Radio One - Alberta
Eric Hoffman (Montreal), ideological studies

Information: Montreal Palestine

Adel Iskandar (Lexington, KY), author of Al-Jazeera: The Story of the Network that is Rattling Governments and Redefining Modern Journalism; co-editor, Edward Said: Emancipation & Representation

M.R. Islam, professor, Petroleum Engineering, Dalhousie - Sexton Campus (Halifax)

Yaser Chaban Kabakibo (Halifax), student

Penney Kome, author and journalist (Calgary AB)

Louis Lang, past president, Ottawa Local, Canadian Union of Postal Workers
Tamara Lorinc (Halifax), Ecology Action Centre/Halifax Peace Coalition

Lewis MacKinnon, co-president, Chomhairle na Gàidhlig, Alba Nuadh / Gaelic Council of Nova Scotia

Ashley MacPherson, student in Communications Studies, Mount Allison University (Sackville)

MLPC Radio, University of Windsor (Windsor ON)

Leuren Moret, Environmental Commissioner, City of Berkeley (CA); president, Scientists for Indigenous Peoples; author of Foreword to Japanese journalist Akira Tashiro's Discounted Casualties: The Human Cost of Depleted Uranium
Native Studies Department, St. Thomas University (Fredericton)

Nova Scotia Cuba Friendship Association (Halifax)

Palestine House (Toronto)

Paper Tiger TV (New York)

Parent-Child Guide (Halifax), Robert Rockwell, publisher

Karen Parker (San Francisco CA), human rights lawyer; chief delegate for International Educational Development - Humanitarian Law Project; in 2001 lobbied successfully for the appointment of a special rapporteur on depleted uranium during the annual session of the Subcommission on the Prevention of Discrimination Against Minorities

Kim Petersen (Halifax), contributing writer, Dissident Voice

Peter Phillips, professor of Sociology, Sonoma State University; Director, Project Censored

Bahia Réghaï (Ottawa), human rights activist

Susan Riordan (Yarmouth NS), widow of a Canadian First Gulf War veteran

Bill Ross (Delta ON), believer

Henk Ruyssenaars (The Netherlands), Foreign Press Foundation, former foreign and BBC correspondent for 40 years, ten - including Gulf War I - in the Arab World and Middle East
Isaac Saney, professor, International Development and Black History, Dalhousie and St. Mary's Universities (Halifax); author, Cuba: A Revolution in Motion

Debby Seed (Toronto), writer/editor; author, The Amazing Water Book
Sunil K. Sharma (CA), editor, Dissident Voice (

Dr Jaspal Singh, South Asian Review (Canada), South Asian Centre (Cambridge MA); consultant, writer on issues pertaining to language, culture and social justice in South Asia

Shailendra Singh, Assistant Lecturer - Journalism, Department of Literature & Language,School of Humanities, The University of the South Pacific (Suva, Fiji)

Smoke Signals First Nations Radio CHRW 94.9FM, with hosts Dan Smoke-Asayenes and Mary Lou Smoke-Asayenes Kwe

Norman Solomon, executive director, Institute for Public Accuracy; associate, FAIR; syndicated columnist, Media Beat; co-author, Target Iraq: What the News Media Didn't Tell You; author, The Habits of Highly-Deceptive Media
South Shore Peace Initiative (Lunenburg NS)

Splitting The Sky, Mohawk Territory, co-author, The Autobiography of Splitting the Sky: From Attica to Gustafsen Lake

Dr Erin Steuter, professor, Communication Studies, Mount Allison University (Sackville)

Susan Thompson (Peace River, AB), freelance writer/editor

überCulture Collective (Montreal/Halifax/Vancouver)

Vive le Canada (Peace River)

Karen Lee Wald (San Jose CA), writer, educator, polemicist; author, Children of Che: Child Care and Education in Cuba

Bruce Wark (Halifax), associate professor of Journalism, University of King's College School of Journalism; columnist, The Coast; former producer, CBC's Media Files

Dr James Winter (Windsor ON), professor, Communications Studies, University of Windsor; author, Mediathink, Democracy's Oxygen: How Corporations Control the News
Workers Forum (Toronto) - Pierre Chénier, secretary

John and Karen S. Wright, Heartland Labor Forum (Kansas City MO)

Mickey Z, contributor to (among others) ZNet, Counterpunch, DissidentVoice, and Press Action; author of The Seven Deadly Spins: Exposing the Lies Behind War Propaganda and Saving Private Power: Hidden History of “The Good War”
Gary Zatzman (Halifax), editor, EEC Innovation; co-editor, Dossier on Palestine

Howard Zinn (Boston), historian and author, People's History of the United States

Barrie Zwicker (Toronto), broadcaster and writer; producer, The Great Deception: The War on Terrorism -- An Alternate View; former host (weekly on Vision TV) of Insight Media File; Director, Citizen's Inquiry on 9-11

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