PRCA responds to the Culture, Media, and Sport Committee's fake news inquiry

Responding to the Committee’s inquiry on fake news, the PRCA has outlined the industry’s understanding of the topic, its threat to trusted earned media, and the ways it can be combatted by the Government, technology companies, publishers, and the wider public.

The Committee’s inquiry intends to address the growing phenomenon of fake news and how technology companies and consumers should be tackling the issue. The Committee also intends to establish the imperative for spreading fake news and how other governments have responded to it.

The PRCA’s response establishes that fake news is not necessarily a new phenomenon with IPSO regulating the dissemination of accurate news. Evidently, the growth of social media and online news content requires new forms of industry regulation. However, the regulation of fake news should not be an exercise in curbing freedom of speech or misunderstand the legitimate place of comment and opinion articles in the media. It is clear that social media social media platforms’ own editorial policies have a role to play in but equipping the public with the right tools and knowledge to assess online media is equally important.

The full PRCA response can be viewed here.

Francis Ingham MPRCA, Director General, PRCA, said: “Fake news harms the mutually-beneficially and two-way relationship between journalism and PR and communications: both sides have to be trusted by the public to be valued and earned media relies on this trust.

“It is encouraging to see that several key players in the technology industry have begun to assess their editorial policies. We cannot - and should not - solely rely on algorithms to root out fake news.

“The public must be responsible for the spread of fake news, which is why education is key. Above all, we want to ensure that the public is properly informed on the news they read online because this will ultimately lead to productive political engagement”.



About PRCA

Who we are: Founded in 1969, the Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA) is a UK-based PR and communications membership body, operating in 48 countries around the world. We represent in excess of 20,000 people across the whole range of the PR and communications industry. The PRCA promotes all aspects of public relations and communications work, helping teams and individuals maximise the value they deliver to clients and organisations.

What we do: The Association exists to raise standards in PR and communications, providing members with industry data, facilitating the sharing of communications best practice and creating networking opportunities.

How we do it and make a difference: All PRCA members are bound by a professional charter and codes of conduct, and benefit from exceptional training. The Association also works for the greater benefit of the industry, sharing best practice and lobbying on the industry's behalf e.g. fighting the NLA's digital licence.

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Matt Cartmell
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