Fake news is not a new phenomenon, but our digital society brings ever new and increasingly effective ways of disseminating it. And how to fight most effectively against fake news? With real news and free media.
AmCham business breakfast entitled "Fake (In)Security" tried to answer the question how we can prevent the destructive power of fake news and alternative facts in the business world, how to protect our digital footprint in reality, and what is the role of the media in the society that wants simple solutions to increasingly complex issues. In the debate that was led by Jure Tepina, the editor-in-chief of 24ur.com, Tjaša Slokar Kos, news director and editor-in-chief of Pop TV, Jugoslav Ćosić, news director of the Serbian television N1 and Matej Potokar, Executive Vice President at Cosylab company have participated.
To the question what is fake news, Tjaša Slokar Kos responded that fake news is simply a lie spread by political parties, the media and other parties in society. She said that fake news was not something new, even before the emergence of the Internet, it was possible to spread the wrong information, but it is now much easier to expand at the time of digitization and social media, all the news is more accessible. "Most of all, you know it when you become a victim of fake news," she explained, adding that Slovenia will have double elections this year, where there will surely be many fake news and there will be so much work for journalists to verify all this information. In addition to that, she also mentioned the pressure of time that media companies are increasingly confronted with in the digitized society, because the rush of publishing news is often forcing journalists to insufficiently verify the facts, which can open the door widely to fake news.
Jugoslav Ćosić said that fake news was invented in Serbia, but until now they did not know that these were fake news. "In Serbia, we have a lot of experience with fake news in all areas of life, not just political, "he said and supported this with a practical example of setting up the media house N1, where he is the news director. "Before we appeared on the market, we were subject to negative propaganda because of our owners, United Group and KKR, claiming that we are an American television, that we are part of the American CIA intelligence agency and so on. There was a lot of fake news, which was also very unpleasant for our journalists. Nobody knew what kind of television we would be, they did not know that we will perform serious investigative journalism," said Ćosić.
Ćosić also said that from the investor itself, they never felt any pressure. "I've been with N1 since the first day. Setting up a new TV network is a very demanding and stressful business, but we have always had the support from the investor, who is checking what we are doing and how we work, but there has never been any pressure, we perfectly understand each other. I believe that there was some pressure from the Serbian government on the investor, but this did not come to us," Ćosić said. According to Ćosić's opinion, the best way to deal with fake news is real news."Nothing is as powerful as the real news. The mission of the media is to constantly and thoroughly verify the facts, thus separating the lie from the truth. But the problem is if you do not have the freedom to spread the real news. And that's why we need free media," said Jugoslav Ćosić, adding that they are investing a lot of energy on TV N1 fighting for the truth and for the freedom of the media.
Matej Potokar added that fake news is a reality that needs to be taken into account, and that we have to try even more than in the past to influence things that can affect the business. "We live in a wonderful period, in a period of incredible opportunities. But we need to be careful, because besides the opportunities, industry 4.0, also brings a huge amount of questions, so we need a trusted media," he said. He also added that in the fight against fake news we could also use artificial intelligence, because it has the ability to process huge amounts of data in a single second. "Now, the problem is mainly the verification of information. Information is attacking us from all sides, but in business and in society in general, we need trusted resources. It is increasingly difficult to recognize who is trustworthy and who is not, and this is a challenge where artificial intelligence can help us," said Potokar.
In his role as a key-note listener, who is taking part in a high-level expert group (HLEG), which was appointed by the European Commission and will advise on how to deal with fake news, Žiga Turk also shared his comments. He said that there is a big misunderstanding in the society, that we have fake news on the one hand, the wall in between, and on the other hand the real news. "This is not the case, we have a whole spectrum, from totally malicious stories on the one hand, we have biased and manipulative reporting, and then we have the real stories written by true journalists. I'm not afraid of malicious constructions or their influence. I am afraid of the gray area in between, where we have some truths, some falsehoods and manipulations. I think it would be wrong to build a European policy on the belief that we only have bad and good news, but there is a need for debate in the public and media space," said Turk. Another dangerous issue is a war for information. "We have state and non-state actors who are trying to manipulate the media and public discussions around the world. Democracies which are advocating freedom of speech will also have to establish some security mechanisms against this," said Turk, and as a third problem pointed out a different public and media space, where there are no guards, where there are no editors. "Traditional editors and guards who were responsible and who took care of the level of public debate are gone, and they can not be replaced by any algorithms and any legislation. But we can make sure that everyone who participates in a public debate is more responsible. And the first step to this is to promote the right identities that can be verified," Turk concluded his thoughts.
We also heard some practical examples at the AmCham Business Breakfast. Gorazd Jukovič (STA) informed us how we can use the Event Registry tool in the fight against fake news, Jure Habjanič (Kliping) talked about social media as a support for leadership and governance, and Uroš Majcen (S&T) explained how to detect and prevent cyber threats in a timely manner.
You can see the whole video of the AmCham Business Breakfast HERE.
You can see the photos of the event on our Facebook page.