Global Insights: Who Decides? Misinformation and Election Interference

Thursday, October 29, 2020 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM EDT (UTC–04:00)
Public Event: Virtual Event
Global Insights: Who Decides? Misinformation and Election Interference

In an ideal world, a democracy elects its leaders by having its citizens participate in a careful, critical and thoughtful comparison and selection of competing parties, platforms, policies and personalities. This process of analysis and selection depends fundamentally upon access to objective information, a fair and unbiased press and media, political candidates and leaders speaking truthfully, and social norms privileging evidence, expertise and rational decision making.

However, recent major elections have been plagued by the presence — and, sometimes, blatant celebration — of lies, untruths, misinformation and accusations of election interference and fraud, perpetrated by domestic and foreign parties alike. As a result, the basic foundations of democracy have been shaken to their core, as misinformation, emotionality and fear-mongering are used as tools to manipulate electoral processes.

As the world awaits the result of the looming 2020 US election in an atmosphere of “post-truth politics” amplified across social media platforms, this Global Insights panel questions how we have arrived at this strange and troubling point in democratic decision making, and how we might escape from it. If the electorate is not accurately informed, and if the media, politicians and experts cannot be “trusted,” then who or what is ultimately deciding the outcome of leadership contests in modern democratic states?


Scott Koga-Browes, Graduate School of International Relations, Ritsumeikan University 

Aaron Shull, Managing Director and General Counsel, Centre for International Governance Innovation

Jorhena Thomas, Adjunct Professorial Lecturer, School of International Service, American University 

Moderated by Ann Fitz-Gerald, Director, Balsillie School of International Affairs

Event Speaker

Aaron Shull is the managing director and general counsel at CIGI. He is a senior legal executive and is recognized as a leading expert on complex issues at the intersection of public policy, emerging technology, cybersecurity, privacy and data protection.