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‘Be Media Smart’ campaign to stop fake news

Posted: 19 March, 2019

A new public awareness campaign launched today to coincide with European Media Literacy Week (18-22 March).

Coordinated by Media Literacy Ireland (MLI), and facilitated by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) the campaign encourages people of all ages to Stop, Think, and Check that information they see, read or hear across any media platform is reliable. 

Recent Eurobarometer research reveals that 83% of Europeans think ‘Fake News’ is a threat to democracy while 73% of European internet users are concerned about disinformation in the pre-election period.  The ‘Be Media Smart’ campaign is intended to help people judge the difference between reliable and accurate information and/or deliberately false or misleading information.

Professor Brian O’Neill, TU Dublin Director of Research and Chair of the MLI Steering Group, said:

Media literacy – our capacity to access, have a critical understanding of, and interact with the media – has never been as important as it is today.  In a time when we are faced with a huge volume of information from a variety of sources, this campaign is a timely reminder of how important it is that people are aware of where their information comes from, and how to recognise information that might not be reliable. The Be Media Smart awareness campaign is built around bringing the same level of care to one’s information sources as one would of their food provenance or car history.”

Ethical journalism that is reliable and can be trusted is vital for democracy.  The journalism degree programme in the School of Media at TU Dublin was the first of its kind in Ireland and has been running for over forty years.  Its graduates include many household names working in today’s media across all platforms. 

Welcoming the ‘Be Media Smart’ campaign, Kate Shanahan, Head of Journalism in the School of Media, said today’s students of media need to be able to build trust with their audiences"At TU Dublin School of Media, we are training the next generation of journalists to be media smart themselves in dealing with both the ethical and practical challenges of journalism in the digital age, thus ensuring that trust in journalism itself is safeguarded.” Commenting on the inter-disciplinary nature of today’s media, she said “Through our Critical Media Literacy research centre in TU Dublin we are committed to  understanding the role of media literacy in social, economic and political contexts, bringing together scholars from areas as diverse as journalism and marketing, computer science and theoretical physics, software engineering and gaming."

The ‘Be Media Smart’ campaign comprises a dedicated website, TV and radio ads, a social media campaign and a nationwide PR campaign, including a consumer leaflet distributed through libraries.

Listen to Prof. Brian O'Neill speak about the campaign on Morning Ireland this morning.