iCmedia present at the MLEG meeting about Fake News

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The Media Literacy Expert Group from the European Commission, in which iCmedia is Spain’s representative, held a meeting the past Thursday to debate about the dangers of fake news and false information and to propose and analyze models of best practices in the fight against this concerning issue that most Member States of the EU are facing.

The meeting took place at the Commission’s DG Connect facility, and was inaugurated by Paolo Cesarini, Head of Unit I4 – Convergence and Social Media. Cesarini maintained that “all citizens have the right to have a formed opinion based on verifiable facts”.

Afterwards two pilot projects funded by the Commission on 2016 were presented. Joanna Krawczyk from the Evens Foundation presented the project Mind over Media, which analyzes propaganda videos and photographs. Angela Rees, from Pontydysgu, presented the second funded project, Media in Action, aimed at the formation of educators in storytelling and media literacy.

The session continued with two good-practice proposals. Leo Pekkala, from the National Audiovisual Institute, Finland, highlighted the importance of funding media literacy for adults projects; while Nicola Frank, from the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) proposed to the different actors some steps to combat misinformation.

After lunch, Ian Vollbright, from the Commission’s Joint Research Center (JRC), pointed out the importance of the unconscious mind on people’s decission making and warned that: “Fake news work even when it is shown it’s fake”.

The conference ended with a discussion panel moderated by Anni Hellman, from the European Commission.

The debate was formed by different participants, among which it is worth noticing the presence of Facebook and Google representatives. Facebook higlighted that they are aware that the users want to see reliable news on the platform, but that they do not consider themselves a suitable agent to decide what kind of contents our users want to access. Similar to Facebook, Catherine Williams, Communications and Public Affairs at Google, Brussels, held that “tech companies can’t be the arbitrators of the truth”and that their mission is to make information universally accesible and useful for everyone”.

The debate was retransmited on Twitter with the hashtag #tackefakenews.

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