Forum pushes new solutions to curb scourge of fake news

Forum pushes new solutions to curb scourge of fake news

Media advocates have floated ideas for curbing fake news on social media, including a proposal to form a team of experienced reporters in various news beats to serve as fake news "gatekeepers".

The idea was proposed at a forum on Thursday called "Fighting Fake News: Lessons Learned and Constructive Resolutions", which was organised by the National Press Council of Thailand (NPCT) and other partners such as the Friedrich Naumann Foundation and the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue.

The "gate-keeping" team would share information between team members, who would fact-check suspicious news articles, then publish a verified version of the story, said Jeerapong Prasertpolkrung, secretary-general of the Thai Journalists Association (TJA).

Thairath Online maintains that only news that has been clearly verified should be published, said Apirak Rojumporn, managing editor of Thairath Online, the online news platform of the country's leading Thai-language newspaper Thairath.

"Professional media relies on credibility," he said.

However, members of the mainstream media have at some points published fake news stories which they found on social media without first checking if they were real or fake, said Asst Prof Wilaiwan Jongwilaikasaem, a lecturer with Thammasat University's Faculty of Journalism and Mass Communication.

The more rampant fake news is, the more important the media's role becomes in verifying information before publishing it, said Chavarong Limpattamapanee, chairman of the NPCT.

He admitted that it is, however, a big challenge to maintain a good standard of fact-checking in an industry that depends on working quickly.

A survey conducted by The Guardian found that 52% of Thais tend to believe fake news, said Supinya Klangnarong, head of the NPCT's team on media consumer protection.

Media practitioners in Thailand are not doing much to screen and verify fake news in comparison with Singapore, which has implemented a fake news law, and Taiwan, which has started using chatbots [artificial intelligence programmes] to monitor for fake news, she said.

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