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Public discourse under threat from fake news

Activist group fears public discourse under threat from fake news

30 January 2017

Concerns remain that the funding freeze imposed on Radio New Zealand will leave the domestic mediascape vulnerable to undermining by political and corporate interests in an era of clickbait headlines and fake news.

Fund for Truth co-founder Ian Pattison says, “now, more than ever, the quality of news content is under attack around the world. A properly-funded, independent and impartial public service broadcaster will act as a useful bulwark against fake media content and stories influenced by commercial and political interests.”

Despite overwhelming support from New Zealanders for a public service broadcaster and a decade-old KPMG report recommending at least a $6m increase in funding, the freeze remains in place.

“RNZ’s decreased capacity will erode the ability of New Zealanders to have informed public discourse. The funding freeze must be lifted to provide an accountable counter-balance to all types of media content that are motivated by spin and advertising clicks, rather than journalistic integrity”, Pattison continues.

“We are willing to work with any and all concerned groups and members of the public who believe that an appropriately-funded public broadcasting presence is an essential pillar of an informed and active democracy.”

Fund for Truth has allied itself with the Campaign for Better Broadcasting to drive home the message that the freeze must be lifted and funding increased to allow the public service broadcaster to expand more fully into the digital mediascape.

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