Publication Date: April 2018
Synopsis report of the public consultation on fake news and online disinformation

A public consultation on fake news and online disinformation took place between November 2017 and February 2018. The aim of the consultation was to assess the effectiveness of current actions, the need for scaling them up and introducing new actions to contrast different types of "fake news".

Two questionnaires (one for the citizens and one for legal persons and journalists) were available. The consultation received 2986 replies, mainly from individuals. The largest number of reactions were received from Belgium, France, the United Kingdom, Italy, and Spain. There has been a high participation in Lithuania, Slovakia, and Romania as well.

In general, there is a common perception that “fake news” is highly likely to cause harm to society, in particular when they concern political affairs, immigration, minorities and security.
Fact-checking through independent entities is considered to be the best way to contrast the spread of disinformation online, even though it should be accompanied by other measures and tools. The majority of respondents agreed on the fact that more should be done to tackle “fake news”, but that whatever the approach might be has to respect and guarantee freedom of expression and avoid any kind of direct or indirect censorship.

There is also a preference for a multi-stakeholder, multi-dimensional and self-regulatory approach. Further actions to increase media literacy and ensure support and access to trusted journalism are seen as necessary steps to undertake.

Tags: Fake news and disinformation Media freedom Freedom of expression Censorship Media literacy Fact-checking Trust in media

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