BLOG published on 03 May 2018 • Department / Unit Communications

PSM News is at the forefront of the fight against fake news and disinformation

EBU Members are on the front line when it comes to fighting the propagation of fake news and misinformation. Quality journalism, media pluralism and objective reporting are not only part of our Members' public service remit; they are values embedded deep in their DNA.

‘Fake news’ is now very much part of the lexicon but the issues run much deeper with the erosion of quality journalism and ethical standards, a loss of revenue for news outlets and the growth of online platforms all contributing to a general pattern of ‘information disorder’.

At the EBU, our role is to support our Members in continuing to deliver a distinctive, relevant service but also to help raise standards across the whole of the industry.

In recent weeks, I've been taking part in the EU's High Level Group on Fake News whose recommendations will help the European Commission scope the phenomenon of fake news and formulate recommendations.

For me it is important that we create a fairer balance between news producers and online platforms as a key way to rein in the spread of fake news. Public service media (PSM) also has a critical role to play in delivering news to all audiences online and in media literacy initiatives to ensure access to objective news and information is truly democratic.

PSM’s views need to be heard by those who seek to regulate the media and with the online companies who are trying to pre-empt the regulatory reaction.  We published a policy paper last month that sets out our recommendations for limiting the spread of fake news and disinformation.

Alongside our own recommendations that any policy measure aiming to fight disinformation must be cautious, proportionate and protect freedom of speech and support pluralism, it also outlines the many areas in which the EBU is working with our Members to enhance and support public service journalism.

These include setting out editorial principles and guidelines in line with public service values, conducting verification training and workshops, clearing around 50 items of user generated content for Members every single day and exchanging media literacy and fact-checking formats and tools.

Partnerships are also very important to our approach and I was recently in Paris for the launch of the Journalism Trust Initiative. Working in a consortium, led by Reporters Without Borders, we are hoping to develop an agreed set of trust and transparency standards that will be developed and implemented over the coming months.

By identifying common issues across the industry and pushing for change, we can have more impact. Similarly we are working with the Global Editors Network and four other partners to create a Global Council to Build Trust and Fight Misinformation in the Media that will initially be charged with creating a repository of resources and initiatives from across the industry.

Quality journalism in the public and commercial sectors needs to be allowed to thrive and needs to be easily accessible and identifiable by the public in the digital world.

As our recent PSM Contribution to Democracy report shows, PSM makes a very significant contribution to the health of democracies, acting as an important source of news and information about politics and public affairs and empowering citizens.

PSM has a special role and responsibility to invest in quality journalism, in training and in investigative reporting and the EBU is committed to supporting all our Members in fulfilling this role.