World Association of Press Councils expresses concern over uncontrolled’ spread of fake news

New Delhi, May 8 (PTI) The World Association of Press Councils (WAPC) on Sunday condemned killings of journalists across the globe and expressed “utmost concern” over uncontrolled spread of fake news and misinformation on social media and other digital platforms.

At the conclusion of its four-day annual general body meeting in Nairobi, Kenya, the international media body noted that bloggers and influencers “with ulterior motives” continued to take advantage of the anonymity in digital platforms and create falsehood and lies without having any accountability or legal implications.

The fake news endangers the lives of millions, ignite hatred and fuel intensity of wars, it observed.

“The WAPC expresses its utmost concern on uncontrolled spread of fake news and misinformation on social media and other digital platforms,” its president Sule Aker and international coordinator C K Nayak, who is also president of the Press Association in India, said in a joint statement.

The WAPC declared that it would strive to explore ways to mitigate the negative impacts of this shift towards anonymity based digital media and provide recommendations in the near future, the statement said.

“The Members agreed on the need to develop online media rules/guidelines framework to guide conduct of the online media around the globe, and thereafter advocate for adoption in the member countries,” it added.

The WAPC held its annual meeting and celebrations of the World Press Freedom Day from May 3 to May 8 in the Kenyan capital.

In its declaration at the conclusion of the meeting, the WAPC reiterated its concern over “continuing suffering” of the media even when the Covid pandemic seemed to be receding.

“It urges all governments and the councils to ensure that media should not continue to suffer even while the pandemic is declining,” the WAPC’s president and international coordinator said in the joint statement.

“The WAPC agreed to issue general statement condemning killings and assaults of journalists happening around the world especially in the countries where there is war/conflict,” they said.

Members agreed that WAPC should continue to stand for freedom of press and improvement in standard of media all over the globe, they said.

The members also resolved to strengthen the WAPC and create digital presence of the association, they added.