The Fourth Estate | Watch 4 Films on Journalism and the Role of Media


* This post is a translation. Find the French original here.

In an online world where social media haggles its share of #FakeNews and #AlternativeFacts…

In a media industry where the profitability and speed imposed by new technologies constantly threaten the quality of information…

In a society where elected officials appear to be increasingly unaccustomed to the principles of accountability and transparency…

The media are in a state of crisis.

Media as handmaiden of democracy 

While the industry is facing many major upheavals and freedom of the press is being called into question at every turn (as it has for some time for our neighbours to the south), the role of the media is constantly under attack. But what is this role exactly?

The following 4 films highlight the importance of the public’s right to information and the need for a “fourth power” that is strong, free and independent in a democratic society. Remember that the primary role of the media has always been to be the “watchdog of democracy.”

Humour in the service of information: Nothing Sacred

They have made politicians tremble for over 40 years… Discover the sharp pens and biting humour of two cartoonists from La Presse and The Gazette, competitors and friends Serge Chapleau and Aislin.

Nothing Sacred, Garry Beitel, provided by the National Film Board of Canada

Victims of the tube: The Bronswik Affair

Through skillful editing mixing fiction and reality, this award-winning short film reveals the power of television advertising in the 1970s. The principles of #FakeNews and #AlternativeFacts are nothing new!

The Bronswik Affair, Robert Awad & André Leduc, provided by the National Film Board of Canada

David and Goliath: Silence is Gold

This punchy documentary explores the troubling proceedings that pitted Quebec author Alain Deneault against major Canadian mining companies Barrick Gold and Banro. We discover the fragility of freedom of expression and the risks of abusive proceedings that can bring down certain media, including smaller, independent publishing houses.

Silence Is Gold, Julien Fréchette, provided by the National Film Board of Canada

Media and terrorism: Last Resort

Are the media directly, or even indirectly, responsible for terrorism in Canada? This enlightening documentary by Jacques Godbout shows that this issue has a long history.

Last Resort, Jacques Godbout, provided by the National Film Board of Canada

To better protect the independence of the media and the freedom of the press, first you have to understand their role. A poorly informed society faces grave danger… and that’s NOT an “alternative fact!”

See also:

Freelancer on the Front Lines

Freelancer on the Front Lines, Santiago Bertolino, provided by the National Film Board of Canada

Soon to be released, this fast-paced doc follows Canadian freelance reporter Jesse Rosenfeld’s as he journeys across the Middle East. Having made the region the focus of his work, he shows us the thorny geopolitical realities on the ground and explores how journalism practices have changed in the age of the Internet.