FIGHT FAKE NEWS

French media watchdog launches bid to promote trustworthy news sources

Secretary general of International press freedom watchdog Reporters sans frontières (RSF- Reporters Without Borders) Christophe Deloire, at the RSF headquarters in Paris.
Secretary general of International press freedom watchdog Reporters sans frontières (RSF- Reporters Without Borders) Christophe Deloire, at the RSF headquarters in Paris. AFP - STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN

The France-based independent organisation, Reporters Without Borders (RSF), has launched a "Journalism Trust Initiative", a platform aimed at battling disinformation by identifying and promoting "trustworthy" news sources. 

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The online tool will allow media organisations apply for certification as a trustworthy source. The three-step process includes self-assessment and an external audit.

RSF hopes the initiative will encourage third parties, including internet search engines and social media companies, to differentiate more clearly between sources of information.

In a statement, the organisation described the project as a "game-changing transparency tool ... with the aim of building a healthier news ecosystem, identifying and rewarding reliable reporting and restoring audiences' confidence in journalism at large."

The project was first announced in 2018 and has been co-funded by the European Commission and Craig Newmark Philanthropies, itself financed by the founder of the online classified ads service craigslist.

'Propaganda and hate have an advantage over journalism'

"In the current information chaos, falsehoods, propaganda and hate speech have a competitive advantage over journalism," said Christophe Deloire, secretary general of RSF.

"If we want to get out of this downward spiral, we have to reverse the logic by incentivising journalism through a trusted third-party mechanism."

RSF pointed to a recent study by the Edelman Trust, a media research group, which found that 74 percent of internet users are concerned about disinformation on social media.

The RSF tool was built in collaboration with 130 groups and individuals representing the media, academia, technology companies and regulatory bodies, and will be initially available in English, French, German and Spanish.

"Whether news organisations elect a light option of self-assessment of editorial processes, using the JTI web app, or opt for full audited certification, the move to explicit standards will help identify newsrooms with trustworthy processes," said Vincent Peyregne, CEO of the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers.

 

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