To mark World Press Freedom Day (3 May), Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is launching a “#FightFakeNews” campaign, because combatting disinformation is now one of the biggest challenges for journalism’s defenders.
The campaign’s key element is a TV spot entitled “#FightFakeNews” that was produced for RSF by the French creative agency BETC.
It compares the harm to humans caused by counterfeit industrial or pharmaceutical products with the political harm resulting from counterfeit news and information. Unlike the traditional type of fakes, whose impact on health or the environment is visible and measurable, “fake news” undermines the foundations of democracy in a more insidious way.
“Content that is produced in a rigorous and honest manner is increasingly being subjected to unfair competition from sponsored content, propaganda and rumour,” RSF secretary-general Christophe Deloire said. “As surveys have shown, fake news circulates more easily that trustworthy news because of a cognitive bias in human beings. We cannot remain passive in the face of this threat to the honesty of the public debate and, by extension, to democracy. RSF is taking concrete steps to promote journalistic freedom, independence and pluralism.”
The campaign spot is aimed at the general public and is intended to be broadcast by TV channels and to be made available on social networks and all websites that would like to have it.
Its launch comes a week after the publication of RSF’s 2018 World Press Freedom Index and a month after the formal launch of the Journalism Trust Initiative (JTI), a media self-regulatory initiative designed to promote real journalism in the new information ecoystem. The JTI was launched jointly by RSF and its partners Agence France-Presse (AFP), the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) and the Global Editors Network (GEN).