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Fighting for quality news media in the digital age.

Local news publishers teaming up to fight fake news in run up to general election

By Freddy Mayhew

Local press publishers are joining together to tackle fake news with the launch of a new print and digital campaign that will highlight the “highly trusted credentials” of local newspapers.

The Fighting Fake News campaign will launch on 3 May with local newspapers nationwide running editorials about “the importance of local newspapers in reporting on the upcoming general election”.

The campaign is being co-ordinated by Local Media Works, part of the News Media Association (NMA) which represents UK news publishers.

It comes as Facebook and Google face increasing pressure and scrutiny over their part in the spread of fake news online.

As part of the campaign, the NMA said local newspapers will highlight the “checks and balances involved in reporting local news” and the “investment required to produce local journalism” compared with the distribution fake news for profit from “opaque programmatic advertising”.

The campaign follows an open letter to advertisers from publishers in the 1XL digital advertising network (set up in 2014) earlier this month that said it was a “trusted” and “safe” environment for advertisers.

Press Gazette has also launched a campaign calling on the web giants to stop destroying journalism by taking vital advertising revenue from news publishers.

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NMA chairman Ashley Highfield said: “The critical role of local newspapers in providing local communities with highly trusted news and advertising platforms is even more important than ever in the run up to the general election.

“Through their reporting, local newspapers uphold, promote and support democracy, fighting against the fake news which undermines and subverts it. We must champion the vital democratic function of local newspapers now, more than ever.”

Fighting Fake News will run up to and through Local Newspaper Week (15 to 21 May).

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