I am launching this initiative because the web is an important instrument for knowledge and democracy. However, it is also often a place for unscrupulous fake reporting, which is made all the easier by people’s desire for information that confirms their pre-existing beliefs. We have recently witnessed the rise on the web of new phenomena, such as fake news factories serving commercial or political interests and the rise of “clickbait journalism”, which is more concerned with page-views than with checking the trustworthiness of its sources.
Fake news is confusing: it spreads fear and hatred and irreparably poisons public discourse.
Fake news is not just some sort of innocent prank. It can do real harm to real people – just take a look at the bogus reporting on childhood vaccines, or at the proliferation of fake medicines hoaxes, or at online scams.
The time for responsible action has come and we need to mobilise. Each of us must do what we can to stop the spread of fake news and protect the freedom of the Internet. We must defend the dignity of those who use the web, which offers enormous opportunities for our cultural, personal and economic life.
This is not about censorship or gagging information. This is about how we should react to and deal with a problem that affects all of us. By signing this petition, you will be doing your part and making your honourable contribution. Some environments and industries are more involved than others, and therefore bear a particular responsibility to counter the spread of fake news. Schools are on the front line, but so are the media, companies and social networks. We call on people who work in those sectors to make an extra effort.
SIGN TO SAY NO TO FAKE NEWS, YES TO TRUTHFUL REPORTING