To face the challenges of distinguishing “fake news” from non-biased, factual information, Reporters Without Borders and its partners, Agence France Presse, the European Broadcasting Union and the Global Editors Network, have launched the Journalism Trust Initiative, a media self-regulatory initiative designed to safeguard journalism and fight against misinformation.
The initiative was set forth at a Workshop Agreement of the European Committee for Standardization, which opened in April to interested stakeholders and held a kick-off meeting in May. It requires a commitment to a set of trust and transparency standards agreed upon by media outlets, professional associates and unions, self regulatory entities, as well as digital platforms, advertisers and consumer interest representatives. The project plan published on the European Committee for Standardization website will be discussed and collaborated over a time period of 12 to 18 months, and is expected to be finalized by the end of 2019.
The resulting standards are expected to reflect transparency of media ownership and sources of revenues, as well as enhance journalistic methods and ethics. They are intended to become a voluntary, leading benchmark of media self-regulation and good practices for all those who produce journalistic content, ranging from individual bloggers to international media groups. Adopting the standard will pave the way toward a certification process. Other benefits include preferential distribution and treatment by algorithms of search engines and social media platforms. Google has also announced they will participate in the initiative.