Monday, 29 June 2020 10:10

ACMA releases guidance on voluntary misinformation and news quality code

By
ACMA Chair Nerida O’Loughlin ACMA Chair Nerida O’Loughlin

Australia’s telecommunications regulator ACMA has released a position paper outlining its expectations for a voluntary code or codes of practice on misinformation and news quality to be developed by digital platforms.

The position paper —Misinformation and news quality on digital platforms in Australia - A position paper to guide code development—includes a model code framework for consideration, including objectives and outcomes to be achieved for the benefit of Australian users of digital platforms.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority says that according to the University of Canberra’s Digital News Report: Australia 2020, 48% of Australians rely on online news or social media as their main source of news, but 64% of Australians are concerned about what is real or fake on the internet.

“That should rightly be of immense community concern. False and misleading news and information online has the potential to cause serious harm to individuals, communities and society,” ACMA Chair Nerida O’Loughlin said.

“In developing this new code, digital platforms will need to balance the need to limit the spread and impact of harmful material on the internet while protecting Australians’ important rights to freedom of speech.

“Digital platforms should not be the arbiters of truth for online information. But they do have a responsibility to tackle misinformation disseminated on their platforms and to assist people to make sound decisions about the credibility of news and information.

“We know that major platforms have stepped up their processes during the COVID-19 pandemic due to the prevalence of information potentially harmful to health and property.

“It’s now time for digital platforms to codify and commit to permanent actions that are systematic, transparent, certain and accountable for their users in addressing such potentially harmful material.”

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham - retired and is a "volunteer" writer for iTWire. He is a veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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