Journalists are the first line of defense against fake news

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Podgorica, (MINA) – More than half of the surveyed journalists believe that fake news present the problem to the Montenegrin society, and almost all agree that the journalists themselves are the first line of defense against that occurrence, the study carried out by De Facto agency has shown.

The study is the result of the project “Dealing with Ethics and Fake News”, financially assisted by the EU, and carried out by Mina News Agency and NGOs Nomen and 35 mm.

Total value of the project, which will last for 15 months, is around €128,000, while the target groups are the media outlets, media professionals, self-regulatory bodies, students of journalism and the citizens, in particular the NGO sector and the youth.

Mina News agency’s executive director Jasa Jovicevic said that the project goal is raising awareness among the citizens about the code of ethics, the way it should be perceived, and used in order to understand when their rights are being violated.

According to him, a broad media forum, consisted of the media outlets and professional associations, is envisaged by the project.

“We have invited all media outlets in Montenegro, and the turnout is solid. Over 15 media outlets and media organizations signed a memorandum and will actively participate in the part of the project regarding drafting the guidelines on using the code of ethics in everyday work of the outlets”, Jovicevic explained.

He stressed out that it would be significant for media, on one hand, and education of future journalists on the other, since this material will be eventually presented to the Faculty of political studies.

NGO Nomen representative Stevan Kandic said that the survey carried out by the De Facto agency included 50 journalists from the traditional media outlets, and showed that all respondents are interested for data journalism, although only one eight of them has been using it.

“The respondents find the biggest obstacles for data journalism in Montenegro in the lack of resources, adequate knowledge and time”, said Kandic.

Considering the fake news, 55% of the respondents stated that fake news present a problem for the Montenegrin society, and 90% of them believe that the journalists themselves should be the first line of defense against it, followed by the self-regulatory bodies, media managements, and national institutions.

According to Kandic, 74% of the respondents believe that the fake news are most often found through the social media, while 76% of them believe that traditional media also release the fake news.

According to the survey, 61% of the respondents believe that they are fully acquainted with the Code of ethics, 94% that it is necessary for their everyday activities, and 68% does not agree with the claim that the Montenegrin journalists resect the Code’s provisions.

Kristina Cetkovic of NGO 35mm said that one the project activities is launch of the website mediji.me, envisaged to be a unique platform for all the participants in the field of dealing with news.

She emphasized that this website is not a self-regulatory body, but a platform envisaged to connect the citizens and media.

Longer version of article is available on a link MINA ENGLISH SERVIS