Thailand builds a ‘Fake News Center,’ Oman trains officials to react to hoaxes and the U.K. is teaching children how to spot misinformation

August 14, 2019
Category: Uncategorized

The will to limit the spread of false information has inspired Thailand to announce a Fake News Center.

Under this new entity, Thailand’s police forces will work with military and government officials to decide what pieces of content should or should not be shared on the internet.

Some rights groups think that sounds like a step toward censorships.

In Burkina Faso, journalists can now be punished for publishing “fake news” or “false information” related to national security. A new law stipulated that reporters and editors can get 10 years in jail and a £7,000 fine if their work is considered misleading.

In other parts of the planet, media literacy still seems the best way to fight misinformation.

Oman, for example, started to train communications departments in some government sectors on how to spot and react to rumors and hoaxes. In the United Kingdom, anti-misinformation curricula should soon be included in schools. The idea is to have kids understand false information and be able to fight against it.

Read more about the latest updates to the IFCN’s international guide to anti-misinformation actions, divided into three major topics below.

 

  • Media literacy initiatives are growing 

 

Government agency officials in Oman are being taught how to monitor and respond to fake news on social media platforms, in a purported effort to improve the quality, effectiveness and accessibility of official sources for information.

A spokesperson from the Centre for Government Communications told the Times of Oman that the communications departments of government sectors were being trained on how to spot and react to rumors or hoaxes that pertain to their area of specialty.

For example, the Royal Oman Police has been on the lookout for claims about traffic, accidents or policing that could cause chaos or confusion among the public.

Meanwhile, in the United Kingdom, the secretaries of health and education announced that school curricula would now include programming to teach kids how to spot false claims online and be more aware of misinformation.

Speaking at a social media and online harms summit, the secretaries said kids wouldn’t just be learning how to identify clickbait, but also more thorough lessons on the nature of misinformation and why it spreads.

 

  • So is fact-checking 

 

In June, the IFCN reported on Mexico’s newly-launched fact-checking unit, Verificado Notimex, which is run by the state-owned daily wire service Notimex.

The service, which is operated by the staff of Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, was criticized for using the same name as two other popular and independent fact-checking projects in the country: VerificadoMX and the coalition Verificado.

So far, Verificado Notimex has published 11 fact checks and claims to be monitoring hoaxes on social media, as well as dubious content from traditional news outlets.

Meanwhile, Thailand announced it would be setting up a Fake News Center in coordination with the police, the military, the public relations department and several other government bodies.

The center will remove false content that puts others’ safety at risk, according to the government.

 

  • The term ‘fake news’ is being used to censor opposition

 

In Cambodia, a translator was sentenced to two years in prison for his role in producing a film about sex trafficking in the country that the government said contained “fake news.”

Cambodian authorities accused him of paying off women to lie about their experiences in the film, but international organizations like Human Rights Watch denounced the arrest and said it was probably an effort to hide the realities of poverty that exist in Cambodia.

In Burkina Faso, a new law punishes journalists for publishing “fake news” or “false information” relating to the country’s national security, but critics were quick to speak out and denounce the move as an attempt at censorship.

Read the full updated guide. Have an update, correction or tip for us to look into? Email dfunke@poynter.org or dflamini@poynter.org or use the Google Form linked here.

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