26 June, 2018 / By Kiv Post
Measures to counter disinformation and “fake news” in order to ensure national security which is carried out by governments should not lead to restriction of media rights, Senior Adviser at the OSCE Office of the Representative on Freedom of the Media Andrei Richter has said.
“The right policy in the fight against disinformation shows that there is an opportunity to act [in the fight against fakes], but at the same time to avoid infringing on the freedom of speech … not to resort to disproportionate influence on the media,” Richter said at an OSCE expert conference on the freedom and pluralism of the media in Ukraine in Kyiv on June 26, noting that the argument for such actions is sometimes based on the need to protect national security.
He noted that, despite the fact that the law makes it possible to restrict media rights and government activities, it may be dictated by good intentions to avoid certain risks, but such measures create self-censorship and are often counterproductive.
There are many tools to deal with false news without the participation of a state, the adviser said.
“Non-governmental authorities should take measures to avoid fake news: not to deal with and fight against fake messages, but [use] certain tools, especially legal ones, which allow states to limit false news in certain cases,” Richter said.
“Most of the national legal mechanisms have enough tools [to counteract fake reports]. There is no need to take new restrictive measures. The main thing is to give media professionals the opportunity to work and fight for the truthful presentation of information. Then the audience will assess the standards of journalism itself,” the OSCE representative explained.