A new initiative designed to combat disinformation online has been launched today (3 April) by Reporters Without Borders and its partners Agence France Presse, the European Broadcasting Union and the Global Editors Network.

The Journalism Trust Initiative will encompass an agreed set of trust and transparency standards, designed to act as a benchmark of media self-regulation and good practices for everyone from bloggers to international news organisations.

"In the new public arena system, in which false information circulates faster than real news, the defence of journalism requires reversing this trend by giving a real advantage to all those who reliably produce news and information, whatever their status," Christophe Deloire, secretary general, Reporters Without Borders, said in a press release.

"We are convinced that our initiative will help to foster integrity in the public debate while guaranteeing the broadest pluralism and independence."

It is hoped that the standards, which will be developed by a range of stakeholders including media outlets, digital platforms and regulatory bodies, will reflect the transparency of media ownership and their sources of revenue, as well as the compliance with ethical and independent journalism methods.

Adopting the standards will pave the way towards a certification process, but desired benefits include the possibility of adopters getting preferential treatment by algorithms, as well as being whitelisted by advertisers and self-regulatory bodies as trusted media outlets.

The standards will be agreed over a time-span of 12-18 months in the so-called 'Workshop Agreement of the European Centre of Standardization', but for now the project plan has been published today on the CEN website.

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