RTÉ Audience Council invites public to debate ‘fake news’
2018-04-01 17:03:00 -

The RTÉ Audience Council is inviting members of the public, including immigrants, to join its upcoming debate exploring the role and impact of ‘fake news’ in society.


Chaired by broadcaster Bryan Dobson, the seminar will ask what ‘fake news’ is, how can we identify it, what can be done to combat it, and how to ensure valued news services are and remain trustworthy.


Participating speakers include Sile Lane, head of international campaigns and Policy at Sense About Science; Aine Kerr, co-founder of Nevalabs; Kate Shanahan, head of journalism at DIT; Eugenia Siapera, professor at DCU; Fionnan Sheehan, editor of the Irish Independent; Dr Linda Kiernan, lecturer at Trinity College Dublin; and Ian Power, executive director of Spunout.ie.


Fake news may be defined as the deliberate spreading of false information to a mass audience. The reasons for fake news may include an attempt to control peoples beliefs, to damage the democratic process, or to promote sectoral interests. Financial or political gain may also be motivating factors.


Fake news is not a new phenomenon. Before the advent of social media, it was more commonly referred to as propaganda. However, given that the technologies connected with media have become so advanced, fake news becomes increasingly easy to spread and difficult to detect.


A key challenge facing the media industry, and consumers, is the amount of noise around fake news itself, particularly when it comes to topical issues, where opposing sides allege fake news peddling. 


This can often lead to public apathy and mistrust, not just of the specific source, but of news generally. This is arguably the most dangerous of situations, as it creates a climate where the makers of fake news may face little or no resistance.


Credible, trusted, objective and well-resourced news services, spanning all media platforms – print, broadcast and online - is vital to any democracy.


The fake news debate takes place at 6pm on Thursday 12 April at the Edmund Burke Theatre in Trinity College Dublin. To register for tickets to this free event, email audiencecouncil@rte.ie (strictly two tickets per person).


The RTÉ Audience Council is a voluntary body which provides a voice for consumers of RTÉ media output and delivery on its public remit.


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