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Experts call for Brussels to create coalition against false news

The group of professionals nominated by the Commission proposes to subsidize quality journalism

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Experts call for Brussels to create coalition against false news

Ending false news is not an easy or straightforward task, but supporting quality media can alleviate problem. The Group of Experts appointed by European Commission to offer solutions to this phenomenon has disclosed its work on Monday. These professionals are wary of compulsory approach and defend, instead, voluntary measures. The document calls on Community executive to promote creation of a coalition against misinformation to develop a code of good practice for digital platforms, journalists and public authorities. But its star proposal is much more complex (and perhaps controversial): to subsidize, by different means, media and journalists who produce proven information.

The report notes that hoaxes that circulate on Internet are easy for readers because y "appeal to emotions" and are refore welcomed with greater receptivity. Without wanting to advocate-at least in short term-by compulsory regulation, document calls on Brussels to "Support media innovation projects", including investment in R D. In medium term, it also recommends "raising funds to support quality journalism, including cross-border collaborations and data journalism." They also suggest that main innovation aid programme in Community budget, called Horizon 2020, enables "sufficient resources" to improve online media technologies and "for modernization of newsrooms".

More information
  • The work of EU Committee of Experts on Hoaxes begins
  • How to fight truth

Experts delve into this way of financially helping quality media, without offering direct subsidies because y can be perceived as an attempt to influence ir editorial line. In this field, y propose to Community executive that it considers legal (not contrary to competition) some state aid to means. As an example, he cites VAT exemption of certain journalistic activities (e.g., innovation or training of journalists).

"We now have at our disposal a wide range of materials that will help us to present tangible options to better address risks posed by online misinformation," said Mariya Gabriel, digital affairs commissioner, in a Release.

Member States also ask m to invest in this task and a much more diffuse one: education to consume information, so that citizens are better prepared to distinguish false news from a certain or. National governments are given a final message: "Refrain from interfering with editorial independence of media."

Aware that newspaper companies do not live precisely ir best economic moment to invest in quality, group of professionals asks Commission to present for summer a study of economic sustainability of sector. The aim is to use se inquiries as a basis for possible European budgetary aid in near future.

Experts are urging se recipes to be tested in short term and evaluated next year if more action is needed.

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