Today the London-based News Media Association (NMA) – not to be confused with the News Media Alliance – announced that, in its comments in response to the UK Culture, Media & Sport Committee’s inquiry into “‘fake news’: the growing phenomenon of widespread dissemination, through social media and the internet, and acceptance as fact of stories of uncertain provenance or accuracy,” it called for an urgent investigation into the impact of Google, Facebook and the digital advertising supply chain on the ability of quality, investigative journalists to operate and thrive in a world increasingly threatened by fake news.
While not a formal complaint or allegation, the call for an investigation is a strong suggestion on behalf of the UK news media industry. NMA Chairman Ashley Highfield stated, “Instead of weakening the press, government and regulators should concentrate on combating fake news with a renewed emphasis on the critical importance of genuine news media to democracy.”
The News Media Alliance, in its comments to the Committee submitted on March 3, voiced similar concerns regarding the lack of self-incentives of the distribution platforms such as Google and Facebook to self-regulate due to their economic incentives to perpetuate fake news, and the impact this phenomenon will have on consumers’ ability to receive unfettered content, necessary for a healthy democracy.
The filing focused on the solutions to the fake news phenomenon, from the perspective of our members who invest a tremendous amount of time and resources to ensure the accuracy of news content, and adhere to long-standing and voluntary standards in the journalism profession. We recommend that content from premium publishers should be uplifted in news content feeds of distribution platforms, whether in search or social networks, so that consumers receive information from publishers whose reporting demonstrates the principles of verification, accuracy and fidelity to facts.
As News Media Alliance president & CEO David Chavern stated in the Alliance’s comments, “We strongly believe that real news is the remedy to fake news, and measures should be taken by Google and Facebook to ensure this principle is reflected in their business practices. We look forward to working with our global partners in addressing this important issue.”
The News Media Alliance will continue to work toward a solution to this important issue.
For more details on the News Media Alliance’s position on this issue, access the full filing here.
Members of the News Media Alliance staff have contributed to this post.