Publishers fear fact checking isn't enough – report

MANILA, Philippines – Does fact checking make an impact? Publishers are concerned that it doesn't, even though they think the media should do more to call out lies and half-truths made by politicians.

This is according to the Digital News Project 2020 report, published by the the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at Oxford University.

In their survey of 233 executives in traditional and digital-born publishing companies, 85% agreed that the media should do more to fact check politicians, predicting that more politicians will take on misinformation or disinformation tactics in 2020.

Publishers think that this approach may even be drawing criticism against the media.

There needs to be a more nuanced response, they said. "We certainly need to offer fact checks and reality checks. But we also need content which explores good faith politics, what might be working, how policy develops and makes a difference," the report quoted BBC World Service's Mary Hockaday as saying.

Tech platforms are also at fault, said the publishers, with Facebook (17%) receiving the least credit in the fight against misinformation and disinformation. Facebook is followed by YouTube (18%), Google Search (34%), and Twitter (41%).

The Philippines, whose people spend the most time on social media worldwide, had a midterm election in 2019 that was also heavily influenced by social media platforms.

The Digital News Project surveyed companies from 32 countries in December 2019. –