Media of the Future: The fight against disinformation is purifying murky water
Media of the Future is a conference that covered the most important topics of recent months—from combating disinformation, through changes in the media market, to the future of mass media in the face of war conflicts and technological transformation.
Special guests of the fourth edition of the Conference were the heads of European Press Agencies.
How to react to the growing Russian propaganda? How aware are European societies of online threats? How to reinforce safe behaviors in the virtual world and deal with the flood of fake news? These questions, among others, were answered by the heads of European Press Agencies: Clemens Pig, President of EANA (European Alliance of News Agencies which brings together news agencies from all over the continent) and President of the Austrian Press Agency (APA); Fabrice Fries, President of the French Press Agency (AFP); Nataliia Kostina, Editor-in-Chief of the Foreign Department of the National News Agency of Ukraine (Ukrinform); Alexandru Giboi, Secretary General of the European Association of Press Agencies (EANA); Branka-Gabriela Vojvodić, President of the Croatian Press Agency (HINA); Kiril Valchev, General Director of the Bulgarian Press Agency (BTA); and Wojciech Surmacz, President of the Polish Press Agency (PAP).
The debate "War in the Media" was chaired by Wojciech Surmacz, President of PAP. During the discussion, it was pointed out that in order to talk about the hybrid war, you need to go back to the onset of the pandemic. It was then that many social media accounts were created, whose aim was to disinform and spread the untruth.
Justyna Orłowska, Plenipotentiary of the Prime Minister for GovTech, Plenipotentiary of the Minister of Education and Science for Digital Transformation said: "After February 24, these accounts began to spread disinformation about the war. These cold-blooded actions have been going on for years. It takes many educational campaigns, such as #FakeHunter, to properly assess disinformation. It is also worth cultivating good practices in online behavior amongst the youngest.”
Nataliia Kostina, Editor-in-Chief of the Foreign Department of the National News Agency of Ukraine (Ukrinform), noted that the media are on the front line and play a huge role in the fight against Russian aggression. She said: "We appreciate the understanding of our problems. No one in Europe is taking Russian propaganda seriously.”
Alexandru Giboi, Secretary General of the European Association of Press Agencies (EANA), highlighted the important role of news agencies, saying: "It is important to fight against disinformation and to show true, verified information, that is, to purify murky water.”
In turn, Branka-Gabriela Vojvodić, President of the Croatian Press Agency (HINA), reminded that war changes the world and it changes us. Therefore, educational activities are important, which allows us to remain vigilant, and to distinguish the truth from the untruth. We must wage a war on propaganda, which must take some time to combat.
"Fake news is free, verified information costs. It is necessary to learn to capture from the ocean of news proven and reliable information,” pointed out Kiril Valchev, General Director of the Bulgarian Press Agency (BTA).
In accordance with the title of the Conference, Media of the Future, the debates and presentations also discussed the use of new technologies in the media industry, i.e. artificial intelligence in journalism. Products and solutions were presented by the Athens Technology Center (ATC), JP/Politikens Hus and CISION/PRNewswire.
There was also a presentation of the results of a study conducted jointly by the Polish Press Agency and PBI on how Poles use information on the web and in electronic media.
Łukasz Świerżewski, member of the Board of PAP said: "The uniqueness of the study was that we studied cross media, that is users of information on the internet, on television and on the radio. In this way, we could study the entire population of people who listen, watch or read news in Poland.”
The results showed that about 54% of Poles are regularly exposed to news.
"The recipient of news is a mature person, city resident, pensioner, manager or business owner. The most widely reaching medium in Polish society is the radio. Poles spend the most time watching television, while the internet is the most accurate medium, as here we can decide for ourselves what we are interested in and what we are looking for," said Marcin Niemczyk, Advisor to the Board of PBI.
The invited guests, including representatives of the media, publishers and technology companies, also discussed the law implementing the Copyright Directive and the related laws, as well as the importance of this document for the media industry, the creative industry and the so-called Big Tech.
Poland, like other EU countries, is obliged to implement the Digital Directive, which means negotiations between content providers such as publishers and media, and intermediaries such as digital platforms like Google or Facebook. It was pointed out that currently only intermediaries make money from the distribution of content produced by publishers on the internet, and publishers do not have any financial benefits from this.
"The Directive obliges social media content aggregators to obtain licences for published content. Simply put, journalists will be the beneficiaries of the information distributed by Big Tech,” explained Paweł Nowacki, an independent media and e-commerce market consultant.
Paweł Laskowski, President of the Board of PBI, said: "This is an important project that will strengthen the editorial offices of local media, and will build their strength.”
Damian Flisak, Head of Public Affairs of Ringier Axel Springer Polska, added: "Unfortunately, the law lacks a negotiation mechanism between the parties. Without this, you cannot expect that money will flow to local publishers. Italy, Belgium and the Czech Republic have adopted such mechanisms, and it is also possible in Poland."
Łukasz Świerżewski, member of the Board of PAP summarized by saying: "Media of the Future deals with the most important issues in the media ecosystem, but at the same time we want to set new trends. This year's fourth edition could not have been dominated by a theme other than the war in Ukraine.”