Fake News in Focus at Cambridge TV Convention

Ofcom CEO Sharon White - H 2017
Courtesy of Ofcom

Ofcom CEO Sharon White and BBC chairman David Clementi are among those discussing the issue and the challenges it poses.

Fake news was a key topic of debate Wednesday and Thursday at the Royal Television Society's Cambridge convention.

Sharon White, CEO of U.K. media regulator Ofcom, said she would like online and social media players to engage in more self-regulation and take on fake news more effectively. She said she wasn't very comfortable regulating digital players to battle fake news or other challenges.

White also said that Ofcom would do new research on people's understanding of news in the context of social distribution and fake news.

BBC chairman David Clementi had also discussed fake news in his Wednesday evening keynote. "We all need a place that we can always visit to cut through the noise and find the facts," he said. "That is one of the reasons we have been investing in our global fact-checking operation: Reality Check."

Added the BBC chair: "We have now made it a permanent fixture in the battle against false information and fake news, with a dedicated team fact-checking the biggest or most shared stories."

Under the banner of "In Whose News Do We Trust?", the Cambridge event also hosted a Thursday morning panel featuring Chris Banatvala, independent media consultant and former Ofcom content board member; James Harding, director, news & current affairs at the BBC; Sky News' director of newsgathering & operations Jonathan Levy; Julie Hulme, director of newsgathering at ITV News; and Stuart Millar, head of news at Buzzfeed. They discussed how they would cover a made-up news story and how they would handle social media posts and chatter about it.