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12th annual Media Democracy Days kicks off this weekend

Graphic from Media Democracy Days.

The 12th annual Media Democracy Days Vancouver (MDD) weekend kicks off today beginning at noon with hands-on workshops hosted by The Cinematheque, Redeye of Coop Radio (100.5 FM CFRO) and rabble.ca at the Vancouver Public Library, Central Library (VPL).

“It’s a very exciting and timely lineup this year,” says MDD Organizer Josh Tabish. “You don’t have to look hard to find recent examples of people using media in creative and unexpected ways to unite in the public interest, and that’s reflected in our programming!”

Friday evening, MDD attendees will be treated to a free screening of the feature length documentary Words of Witnessat SFU Woodward’s Djavad Mowafaghian Cinema at 6:30PM. The screening will begin with a talk from noted activist and UBC Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies, Sunera Thobani.

Words of Witness follows 22-year-old Egyptian journalist Heba Afify as she covers the Arab Spring from inside Tahrir Square. The documentary frames the political turmoil of a nation seeking freedom and democracy through Heba’s coming of age story as a young journalist in the Middle East. Register to attend at http://mdd2012filmscreening.eventbrite.com.

“While the fate of Egypt’s democracy remains uncertain, you simply cannot ask for a better example of the role journalism can play in sustaining democracy,” says Tabish.

Finally, on Saturday, November 3rd prominent activists, academics, and community leaders will take part in an entire afternoon of panel discussions and speeches focusing on the state of Canada's media systems. This will take place at the VPL Central Library from 12-5:30PM.

Panel topics will range from 'Muzzling the Scientists' to 'Decolonizing Media' to 'Big Data and Political Marketing', and will feature prominent speakers such as Tzeporah Berman (co-founder, ForestEthics), Derrick O'Keefe (rabble.ca), and Mario Canseco (Angus Reid). In addition, the event will showcase nearly 30 local organizations involved in independent and alternative media education, advocacy, and production at the 2012 Media Fair.

All events are open and free to the public. MDD 2012 is a partnership of SFU’s School of Communication, OpenMedia.ca, and The Vancouver Public Library, and is sponsored in part by Vancity.

About Media Democracy Days

Launched in 2001, MDD western Canada’s signature event for the growing global media democratization movement. This movement seeks to create a more participatory media system by supporting independent and public service media production, celebrating innovation and creating dialogue around the politics and biases linked to our increasingly corporate and concentrated media. This year, MDD events will be taking place over two-days at SFU Woodward’s Goldcorp Centre for the Arts and the Vancouver Public Library – Central Library. To learn more, visit http://www.mediademocracyday.org.

About the School of Communication at SFU

For nearly 40 years, the School of Communication at Simon Fraser University has fostered the development of critical, interdisciplinary approaches to the study of media and technology with a commitment to social theory and political economy. Led by an award-winning team of educators, the School of Communication is at the leading edge of media policy research, technological innovation and cultural transformation on a global scale. For more information, visit http://cmns.sfu.ca.

About OpenMedia.ca

OpenMedia.ca is a grassroots organization that safeguards the possibilities of the open and affordable Internet. The group works towards informed and participatory digital policy. For more information, visit http://openmedia.ca.

About Vancouver Public Library

Founded in 1887, Vancouver Public Library is one of Canada's largest library systems dedicated to meeting the lifelong learning, reading, recreation and information needs of the people of Vancouver. Each year, the Library’s 22 branches serve over six million visitors and offer over 2.5 million items, including books, CDs, DVDs, magazines and countless online resources. For more information, visit http://www.vpl.vancouver.bc.ca/.

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