The information environment in Cascadia is positive, largely because the media industry is flourishing as a result of government support of constitutionally based and judicially upheld laws guaranteeing freedom of expression. That said, the media is nonetheless subject to the influence of powerful business interests and long-established political elites who sometimes combine their influence and technical savvy to manipulate an impressionable public through the use of sophisticated marketing ploys.
Like the rest of North America, Cascadia receives most of its news and information through broadcast media; namely, television and radio. More than 64 television stations and 120 radio stations keep Cascadia’s population abreast of current events through a mix of independent and state-owned networks. Television is the most popular broadcast medium in cities, while video livestreaming remains the preferred medium in rural areas where TV watching is hampered by poor reception.
Internet usage in Cascadia is growing and service continues to improve, albeit incrementally. After secession, the country plodded along with an information system that was damaged, inefficient, and in disrepair. More recently, technological advances in telecommunications spurred the proliferation of smart phones. Increased public and private Internet usage has laid the groundwork for a fledgling smart phone market as well as social networking. Competing political parties and interest groups of all stripes now use social media and other Internet platforms as tools for organizing themselves, promoting their respective agendas, and generating short notice, “spontaneous” demonstrations. Since freedom of expression and the right to peaceably assemble are guaranteed in Cascadia’s basic charter, the government has so far maintained a policy of restraint and forbearance in its reactions to public demonstrations and other forms of civil protest.
The United States presents a major threat to freedom of expression and transparency in Cascadia. The United States’ government is a world-class practitioner of information warfare (INFOWAR), and the flow of information inside that country is often skewed by government pressure and outright censorship.
Because pro-United States ethnic and sectarian groups agitate within Cascadia’s borders, frictions abound, and a perceived United States INFOWAR threat factors heavily into Cascadian policy and spending decisions. This longstanding friction between Cascadia and its powerful neighbor will in all likelihood continue for the foreseeable future. Largely for that reason, Cascadia strives to achieve and maintain technological parity with the United States INFOWAR capabilities. To achieve that end, Cascadia depends heavily on help from China and Russia as a hedge against the United States subversion in the INFOWAR arena.