To investigate, understand, explain and deal with the challenges for journalism in the era of social media and digital platforms this publications compiles the reflections, analysis and proposals of experts and teachers on the roots and functioning of misinformation, as well as the paths that journalism can follow to contribute to better informed and more democratic societies.
The research included a survey of 546 journalists along with in-depth interviews of 10 senior reporters and editors in national and international newsrooms based in Pakistan.The survey, aimed at understanding the perception of their ability to identify and counter misinformation, found that almost 90% of respondents believe that misinformation has had an impact on public trust in the media.It also concluded that nine out of ten respondents claimed that they have become more vigilant about fact-checking due to accusations about the media's role in spreading misinformation.Editors interviewed for the study felt that accusations of “fake news” and attacks on journalists on social media had not only made them more vigilant but also fearful of putting out information.In terms of their understanding, the survey found that 89% of respondents claimed there were discussions in their newsrooms about misinformation. While on the face of it this appears encouraging, the survey indicated that none of the 584 respondents were able to differentiate between misinformation, mal-information, and disinformation casting a shadow over their true understanding of integral concepts.While 81 percent of reporters surveyed said that their organisations had written guidelines, none of the editors from mainstream Pakistan-based news organisations said they had written fact-checking guidelines. This is further aggravated by the fact that 35% of respondents said they had not received any kind of formal training on fact-checking.Source: Execuive summary pages 3-4.
Recommendations for media development organisations
- There is a significant need to develop training and modules that take into account the reduced resources that media houses and newsrooms are working with.
- Initiatives that can help decrease the workload of newsrooms by simply fact checking and verifying digital material such as pictures and videos being shared on social media, can work adjacent to news organisations.
- Digital verification techniques and tools are constantly changing, and so it is important to create updated material in regional languages that reflects this.Source: Chapter 7: Recomendations page 25.