POSITION PAPER published on 18 Apr 2018 • Department / Unit Legal & PolicyInitiative or Policy Media Freedom & Pluralism

'Fake News' and the Information Disorder

The EBU believes that the Report of the High Level Expert Group on Fake News and Online Disinformation (HLEG) represents a step in the right direction and we look forward to pursuing the initiative within a multi-stakeholder Coalition working on a Code of Practice.

As the representative organization of Europe's public service media, the EBU wishes to provide the EU Institutions and key stakeholders with regular input, information and recommendations by identifying best practices, appropriate policy options and cross-industry initiatives to tackle the problem and build citizens' trust.

This document explains the unique role played by public service media in informing citizens and addressing ‘fake news’. To fulfil this role, public service media needs political independence, a flexible remit and sustainable funding, supported by an appropriate regulatory framework across the wider sector. This paper also offers insights and recommendations on how to identify the scope of the problem and further actions to be taken by public authorities and platform operators in particular.

  • In part one, we examine the scope of the 'fake news' issue and argue that disinformation is only the most visible element of a much broader and deep-lying problem: the 'information disorder'.
  • In part two, we explain the important and unique contribution of public service media.
  • In part three, we propose measures addressing the role of online platforms aiming to counter the spread of disinformation online.
  • In part four, we suggest future actions to be taken by public authorities, in particular to improve access to reliable information and reduce the spread of disinformation online.

The annex provides additional information on initiatives taken by our Members to specifically tackle disinformation.