Is social media undermining democracy? TVO Today Live debate comes to Kitchener Public Library

Four expert debaters to argue their positions in front of a live audience on March 25, 2023

Toronto, Ontario, March 10, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- On Saturday, March 25, 2023, TVO Today Live will visit the Kitchener Public Library to host an on-stage debate about a timely and critical question: Is social media undermining democracy? Four esteemed debaters will join Steve Paikin of TVO Today’s The Agenda for a lively and thoughtful exchange of ideas. Eventbrite registration for this event has already sold out.

Social media has rapidly expanded its role in democratic societies. Recent examples highlight how social platforms can contribute to real-life situations that threaten public institutions, from the January 6 insurrection in the U.S. to the occupation of downtown Ottawa, to widespread disinformation about COVID-19 throughout the pandemic.

“It wasn’t long ago that social media was heralded as a tool that could level the field between the grassroots and the most powerful figures and institutions in our society,” says John Ferri, VP of Programming and Content at TVO. “But in light of the growing threats to democracy from online sources, all of us must grapple with how social platforms may be impacting the health of our democratic institutions.”

Is social media undermining democracy? 

Arguing “yes”

  • Samantha Bradshaw, Assistant Professor in New Technology and Security at American University's School of International Service and Fellow at the Centre for International Governance in Kitchener-Waterloo
  • Ann Fitz-Gerald, Director of the Balsillie School of International Affairs and Professor of Political Science at Wilfred Laurier University

Arguing "no"

  • Jeff Jarvis, Director of the Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism at City University of New York's Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism, and author of Public Parts: How Sharing in the Digital Age Improves the Way We Work and Live and the upcoming The Gutenberg Parenthesis: The Age of Print and Its Lessons for the Age of the Internet 
  • Robby Soave, Senior Editor at Reason magazine, Hill.TV host and author of Tech Panic: Why We Shouldn't Fear Facebook and the Future

Debate to be moderated by Steve Paikin of TVO Today’s The Agenda.

The debate will be recorded and made available for streaming on TVO Today and YouTube on Wednesday, March 29 before being broadcast on TVO on Thursday, March 30 at 9 pm ET. Visit the TVO Today Live series page to get the latest information and sign up for email updates.

The TVO Today Live series is made possible through generous support from The Wilson Foundation, whose mission is to strengthen and enrich Canada in education leadership, community, history and heritage, and public service. Events take place in communities across the province and feature conversations with community leaders and experts to inspire civic engagement.

TVO Today Live: Is social media undermining democracy?
Saturday, March 25, 2023
Doors: 7:30 pm 
Event starts: 8 pm
Kitchener Public Library, Central Library
Kitchener, Ontario
RSVP: Eventbrite (sold out)
Media registration:

In advance of TVO Today Live, the Kitchener Public Library will be hosting a full day of family-friendly events on March 25, 2023. Learn more in this press release.

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Media contact:

Paul Ginis, TVO


Twitter: @TheAgenda
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