Imagine opening the pages of your Guelph Mercury in a country where the media was not free. You wouldn’t know if what you were reading was the truth or propaganda. When the government controls information, unfavourable news is seldom reported.

 Likewise, imagine if what you were reading was the propaganda that comes from well-oiled and well-funded self-interest groups bent on setting public policy by masquerading as legitimate news and information sources.

Those are real scenarios in today’s world, and they’re making a difference in what we’re hearing, reading and seeing about the matters, such as famine, that’s beset the horn of Africa, as well as the global food agenda.

Numerous times at this year’s International Federation of Agricultural Journalists’ annual congress in Guelph, the media was praised for its work in conveying information to stakeholders. Other times it was invited to get more involved. I write about these scenarios this week in my Urban Cowboy column in the Guelph Mercury.