Who in Estonia should be activating a fact controlling process?


On December 18th the Vikerraadio program Uudis+ (News +) broadcast had the program director Mirk Ojakivi and the CEO of the Estonian Newspaper Association, Mart Raudsaar discussing false news and ways to fight against them.

At the end of the interview, Mr. Raudsaar said that in addition to the Press Council, which is a self-regulatory body, the publishers of the newspapers, themselves should also create a small special unit dealing with the revealing of false news.

Propastop’s editorial board agrees with the idea and commends the Head of the Newspapers’ Union for seeking the need for more specific wording on the Radio airwaves.

Over the past year, several initiatives working to stop the spread of false news have been seen in the world. Germany has started to fight this issue at the governmental law level by introducing regulations, making it mandatory that social media channel false news be quickly taken out of circulation.

The independent Press Standards Organization (IPSO), which connects media in England, has launched a distinctive label that can be used by publications that track the quality standards of their organization.  The label is confirmation of the truthfulness of the information provided by the publication and that it has been overviewed by the organization.

The Swedish government is planning on combating false news by giving tax breaks to media outlets that would allow the saved money to be used to increase the quality of media content.

Social media giants and major global media channels have jointly created The Trust Project, whose aim is to provide for the creation and communication of reliable information.

As one can see, the topic is actual in the whole world and solutions are actively being sought for the problem. Many of the examples speak of the fact that no one else, other than the media channels themselves can decide to thoroughly control as well as increase the quality.

Who in Estonia is the most realistic group to be able to create such a fact-controlling unit? Instead of it being dealt with by individual newspaper publications, it seems to Propastop that the best solution here would be the Estonian Newspaper Association itself. The organization managed by Mart Raudsaar could set up a separate cell within the media channels’ uniting organization to fight false news. In this way, the control of facts would be the most neutral and free from individual interests of any particular media group.

There already exists an experience in positive fact controlling, since the last local elections when Delfi in cooperation with the Estonian Debating Society checked the claims of the political candidates. Propastop, who has many years of experience in conducting voluntary factual checks on propaganda as well as exposing propaganda lies in Estonia, could also give advice

Photo: duncan c / Flickr / CC