The booklet issued by the Nordic Council of Ministers was well received and sent the signal, that there is no simple way to address the phenomenon “fake news”, and it was firmly emphasized to stop using that terminology and tell what it is, namely propaganda, lies, disinformation and stories from the fake factories.
Fakes has always existed
The roundtable agreed on the recommendation and added access to information, transparency in ownership and building trust between media and citizens as important themes.
Basically, fakes has always existed, but the new situation is that online media, social media and in particular the global tech giants (FAANG: Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, Google) have dramatically changed the Nordic media market. However, it was a general view from the roundtable that the most efficient way to fight fakes is high quality journalism disseminated through a pluralistic and independent media landscape. This requires financial resources and robust business models in the media.
Media and Information Literacy
Another key factor at the meeting was Media and Information Literacy (MIL) not only in the educational sector, but widely in our societies. Also, the raise of fact checking institutions could have an impact.
There was also a strong agreement, that self-regulatory mechanisms should be supported as it contributes to the principle of keeping at arms’ length.
Without addressing media economy and the business models challenged in a huge extend by FAANG, fighting fakes cannot be fully successfully met, it was stressed.
We have the opportunity now to identify initiatives that support the creation of a more gender balanced media landscape, supporting new generations active participation in democratic societies
Active participation in democratic societies
Per Lundgren, senior advisor at Nordic Council of Ministers emphasizes that the roundtable showed the importance for the Nordics to share views and ideas in global perspective on the phenomenon fakes and discuss internationally the changed media landscape:
“We have the opportunity now to identify initiatives that support the creation of a more gender balanced media landscape, supporting new generations active participation in democratic societies. A more resistant society that build trust to our democratic institutions with a variety of private and public service media and new digital media to support the individuals’ capacity to navigate in a complex media saturated world. On top of the agenda should be support and improvement of high quality journalism as a key factor in fighting propaganda, lies and disinformation”.