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The federal budget has finally answered some of the questions about the Liberal government’s plans to subsidize the news business, which were first floated late last year. But the details revealed by Finance Minister Bill Morneau raises many more questions about Ottawa’s reasons for supporting journalism.

Public trust in media continues to hover near all-time lows, driven by perceptions that the news industry is partisan and peddles inaccurate information (“fake news”), as well as ambivalence about news from social media. According to a new Knight Foundation report on news media trust, transparency is a key factor in restoring trust.

When French president Emmanuel Macron sent an open letter to the people of Europe, he said their first freedom is democratic – “the freedom to choose our leaders as foreign powers seek to influence our vote at each election”. He went on to propose establishing a European agency to protect this right. The idea would be to provide European states with experts to help them fend off cyberattacks and other kinds of threats to their elections.

Two basic rules of media ethics apply to the coverage of terrorism: avoid giving unnecessary oxygen to the terrorist, and avoid unnecessarily violating standards of public decency. The way to do this is to apply a test of necessity: what is necessary to publish to give the public a sufficiently comprehensive account of what has happened?

Democracy and social progress die without science and fact-based knowledge. Science and facts are the foundational basis for rational and logical disputation and the possibility of reaching some truths. Fake news, on the other hand, is a calculated assault on democratic freedoms.

Most people think the internet operates as a kind of global public square. In reality, it’s become a divided arena where conflict between nation states plays out. Nation states run covert operations on the same platforms we use to post cat videos and exchange gossip. And if we’re not aware of it, we could be unwittingly used as pawns for the wrong side. How did we get here? It’s complicated, but let’s walk through some of the main elements.