Forum in Sofia Discusses Measures against Fake News


Forum in Sofia Discusses
Measures against
Fake News

Sofia, November 9 (BTA) - An international conference on "Fake News of True Trolls" took place in Sofia's NDK Convention Centre on Friday. Among the participants were Bulgarian Vice President Iliana Iotova, Minister for the Bulgarian EU Council Presidency Liliyana Pavlova, and European Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society Mariya Gabriel.

The event was organized by the Atlantic Club of Bulgaria and the Digital National Alliance with support by the Party of the European Socialists, the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, the Atlantic Treaty Association, the Bulgarian Diplomatic Institute and the French Embassy.

Addressing the event, Iotova said that the EU elections will be the first serious test of how the measures for fighting fake news are implemented. She noted that the European Parliament election campaign will be completely different from previous years in terms of messages, disinformation and mechanisms. "A number of documents will be incorrectly interpreted for lack of knowledge about the working mechanisms of the EU institutions," said Iotova, adding that there is no universal test to check whether a piece of news is fake or disinformational, which makes a universal antidote impossible.

The Vice President said that the spheres to work on are technical instruments and moral categories. She noted the necessity for regulations, promotion of education and media literacy, development of critical thinking, control over children's activities on the Internet, and support for quality journalism.

Iotova also cited data from a research in Bulgaria showing that around 1.8 million people daily come across a piece of fake news.

Addressing the forum, Liliyana Pavlova said fake news spreads six times faster than real news. "The disease that is spreading is huge and serious, and there is no formula to fight it," Pavlova noted. She added that a Code of Good Practices is a good beginning but that everyone should oppose fake news.

Mariya Gabriel hopes to create a European network of "fact checkers", that is, independent experts who can identify a piece of news as fake in a matter of minutes.

The EC has to provide access to a common European platform where experts can share their good practices, according to Gabriel. She said the essential part of this platform is to avoid doing the same work twice.

Gabriel commented on some of the important steps for fighting fake news that the EC has taken in the past year. The first step is the creation of a group of experts detecting online disinformation, followed by reducing the visibility of such information and providing citizens with instruments to take an informed decision, Gabriel said.

She also discussed the Code of Practice for fighting disinformation online, which was created with the help of online platforms, social media, journalists, advertisers, NGOs and researchers. LY/TH


Source: Sofia