OECD warns of urgent need to take action on disinformation

March 6, 2024

A new OECD report has found that there is an urgent need to take stock of anti-disinformation policies in countries around the world and to set a path for action.

The study, ‘Facts not Fake: Tackling Disinformation, Strengthening Information Integrity’, warns that rising disinformation has far‑reaching consequences in many policy areas ranging from public health to national security.

“It can cast doubt on factual evidence, jeopardise the implementation of public policies and undermine people’s trust in the integrity of democratic institutions,” the report found.

Guide for countries on tackling disinformation

The research explores the steps being taken by governments and presents a framework to guide countries in the design of policies that enhance the transparency, accountability and plurality of information sources; foster societal resilience to disinformation and upgrade governance measures and public institutions to uphold the integrity of the information space.

“Governments need to ensure that their policies are coordinated, evidence-based, and regularly evaluated to measure their effectiveness,” the OECD found.

The report also concludes that as information flows know no borders, governments cannot solve the problem alone.

“Peer learning can contribute to better policies across democratic countries facing similar issues,” it states.

Steps being taken in Ireland

In its assessment of measures in Ireland, the OECD points to the Future of Media Commission recommendation to expand the current Broadcasting Fund into a platform-neutral ‘media fund’ to finance schemes for public service content providers, including for local news reporting and supporting the digital transformation.

“The report also recommends reducing tax for newspapers and digital publications and for investments in non-profit media organisations to receive tax exemptions,” the OECD said.

The study highlights the Irish Government’s ‘Be Media Smart’ campaign which flags the importance
of knowing how to verify information, provides tips and guidance on how to check the accuracy and reliability of information and provides information on sources of support and training.

Also outlined in the OECD report, is the establishment of Ireland’s National Counter Disinformation Strategy Working Group, created in 2023, which resulted from a recommendation of Ireland’s Future of Media Commission that called for a more co-ordinated and strategic approach to combat the damaging impact of disinformation on Irish society and democracy.

The body includes representatives from industry, academia, civil society and government departments.

It is intended that the National Counter Disinformation Strategy will be published by the end of the first quarter of 2024.

Article Source – OECD warns of urgent need to take action on disinformation – RTE

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