IMPRESS Highlights Need for Post-Leveson Framework in Fight Against Fake News
As the parliamentary inquiry into fake news takes on a new urgency, IMPRESS has recommended that the Government should complete the implementation of the post-Leveson framework for press regulation and explore a co-regulatory approach to the responsibilities of digital intermediaries in relation to news.
IMPRESS has recommended that the Government should begin to tackle the fake news phenomenon by completing the implementation of the post-Leveson framework for press regulation.
IMPRESS has also recommended that the Government should explore a co-regulatory approach to regulating digital intermediaries such as Google and Facebook.
In a submission to the Culture Select Committee, IMPRESS suggests that intermediaries might become liable for certain forms of harmful content if they fail to respect the judgement of properly constituted regulators.
Jonathan Heawood, CEO of IMPRESS, said: ‘We all need to make sure that media regulation is fit for purpose in the twenty-first century. At IMPRESS, we provide incentives for great journalism, a kitemark to help the public navigate the new media landscape, and arbitration to resolve legal disputes. These initiatives form part of the solution to fake news. However, we agree with others in the industry that the Government should do more to clarify and enforce the responsibilities of digital intermediaries towards the public.’
In IMPRESS’s view, the emergence of fake news has not led to a collapse of trust in the news media but has been enabled by a pre-existing decline in trust. This has exacerbated the reach of fake news and the weaponisation of the term ‘fake news’ as a term of abuse by political figures against authentic news.
IMPRESS cautions the government that this weaponisation of the term ‘fake news’ to justify political attacks on journalism may pose a greater danger than the phenomenon of fake news itself. It masks an attack on press freedom and leaves audiences uncertain whether to trust any news provider, no matter how ethical they may be.