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The Global Council to Build Trust in Media and Fight Misinformation launched today (12 April) at the International Journalism Festival in Italy, planning to create a repository of the active initiatives that fight fake news around the world, as well as best practices and funding opportunities.

The council, founded by the Ethical Journalism Network, European Broadcasting Union, Global Editors Network, Global Forum for Media Development, Online News Association, and WAN-IFRA, is built on four pillars.

The first point of focus is collating details of the existing initiatives that work to tackle misinformation and disinformation in all parts of the world, in order to help those working in the space better understand the work that has already been done and avoid duplicating any research or projects, as well as to promote collaboration between teams taking on similar challenges.

By mapping these initiatives, the council can also find gaps and zero in on countries that might not have a well-developed ecosystem of projects working against misinformation.

Secondly, the council’s six founding partners will also work to connect their members, some of the largest media organisations in the world, with fact-checking or research initiatives in this space, and identify where teams may be able to work together to apply for funding.

The third pillar is collaboration towards innovating in this area, explained Fergus Bell, journalist and founder of Dig Deeper Media, announcing the council on a panel today.

“What we want to do is use the innovation efforts that exist within the organisations to connect them together and come up with ways to build forward,“ he said.

“The final pillar is to perhaps allow a group like this to set some kind of agenda for the way we speak about this topic.

“So often the news organisations get pulled into other people’s conversations – like platforms – and we are asked to respond,“ he added.

“The purpose of establishing the council was not to lobby the platforms. What we might be able to do is map the efforts of where there is lobbying and find the gaps.”

The council also published a proof of concept for the repository, which features information about the funders of each initiative listed, where available.

Many conversations as well as funding opportunities for research or prototyping to understand and fight mis- and disinformation is focused on the United States, explained Many Jenkins, editor-in-chief at Storyful and president of the Online News Association.

“We (ONA) have a pretty wide range of members, and they’re all working towards innovation and sustainability of journalism at large. We want to connect our membership to initiatives around the world.”

“It’s a very scattered landscape and I think the repository will really help bring this together. There’s a lot of work out there,” added Ezra Eeman, head of digital, European Broadcasting Union.

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