Minister fears flood of fake news will put quality journalism at risk

Fiona Hyslop (Andrew Cawley/DC Thomson)
Fiona Hyslop (Andrew Cawley/DC Thomson)

Quality journalism is under threat from a flood of fake news online, Scotland’s culture minister warned yesterday.

In a speech to the World Media News Congress in Glasgow, Fiona Hyslop MSP said an independent and diverse media is vital to a well-functioning democracy.

However, she warned delegates at the conference – a gathering of senior publishers and editors from across the world – that their ability to provide high-quality journalism is risked by fake news.

She said: “The Scottish Government passionately believes that an independent and diverse media landscape is vital to a well-functioning democracy.

“Protecting our participatory democracy is perhaps now more important than ever, and the role of serious, considered, quality journalism in doing so cannot be underestimated.

“I am therefore very concerned about trends suggesting the continuity of high-quality journalism is at risk. Declining income streams, misinformation and disinformation are all serious issues we are having to grapple with.”

The Westminster Government’s Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt MP also spoke of the importance of press freedom in a speech to the conference.

He said: “Democracy and freedom of expression mean nothing unless independent journalists are able to scrutinise the powerful – and discover the stubborn facts – however inconvenient this might sometimes be for politicians on the receiving end.”