Spotlight: World media leaders call for strengthened efforts to combat fake news

Xinhua| 2019-11-19 14:00:20|Editor: An Xueqing
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SHANGHAI, Nov. 18 (Xinhua) -- Leaders of 13 globally renowned media organizations said here Monday that scaling up efforts to counter fake news should be a priority of the media industry.

Senior executives of the media organizations from 11 countries made the remarks at the fourth meeting of the World Media Summit (WMS) presidium.

Cai Mingzhao, WMS executive chairman and president of China's Xinhua News Agency, said fake news poses challenges to journalism ethics.

The popularization of the Internet has lowered the professional threshold of information dissemination, he said, adding "this change has greatly expanded the pool of information, yet it has blurred the line between fact and fiction."

Noting there is no effective mechanism to strengthen cooperation and jointly crack down on fake news, Cai suggested that the summit focus on this issue and create a broader synergy in fighting against fake news.

Jim Kennedy, senior vice president of the Associated Press, said the company has established a special team to combat fake news and vet potentially false news on a daily basis.

Kennedy pointed out that one area where media outlets can cooperate is technological development. As "deep fakes" will get worse, media organizations can collectively work on AI tools needed to discern deep fakes, he said, adding that the WMS can provide a platform for media outlets to discuss technologies that can be used in this regard.

Philippe Massonnet, Asia-Pacific regional director of Agence France-Presse (AFP), said disinformation has existed as long as journalism itself, but in recent years it has exploded with the development of social media.

Massonnet pointed out that fake news phenomenon is massively driven by images. "Here we are in an ironic and dangerous situation: the more visual the news are, the more fake news circulate and damage the reputation of the newsroom in the world," he said.

To fight against fake news, media outlets need to increase transparency in editorial procedures to improve the public trust, provide quality content, forge partnerships in developing verification tools and fact checking, and promote media literacy, he said.

Jamie Angus, director of BBC World Service Group, said the challenge of fake news is not simply around politics and geopolitical events, and there are other areas where fake news is having a damaging effect.

He said he is particularly concerned with fake news online targeting vaccination to disrupt public perception of health care system that supports the well-being of millions of families and children around the world.

"It is a clear example of a global threat of global significance where we could and should collaborate," he said.

The WMS was co-initiated by nine media organizations with global influence, including Xinhua News Agency, News Corporation, the Associated Press, Reuters, TASS News Agency, Kyodo News, and BBC.

Since 2009, three summits have been held respectively in Beijing, Moscow and Doha.

The WMS presidium is the supreme decision-making body of the summit comprising international media organizations. Each organization appoints a senior director as co-chairperson of the presidium which currently has 17 members.