Fake News

Lady Macbeth's William Oldroyd to direct new Channel 4 drama Chimerica

The powerful new series is set against the run-up to the 2016 US Presidential election, focusing on the relationship between China and the US and several issues that affect society today.

An American photojournalist tries to discover the truth behind the iconic image that launched his career nearly 30 years previously.

The famous image is of a man facing down a tank in China’s Tiananmen Square protests in 1989. Years later, the journalist seeks out the Chinese man in the photo following accusations of fake news.

Lord Puttnam: We need regulation to curb data capitalism

Lord Puttnam (Credit: RTS/Paul Hampartsoumian)

In a high-concept, passionate RTS lecture, illustrated by film clips and quotes from such 20th century giants as John Maynard Keynes and Bob Dylan, Puttnam mounted a passionate case for media regulation to curb the excesses of “data capitalism.”

“Tech monopolies (Google, Amazon, Facebook) are taking over the internet. A pernicious form of corporatism could, under the wrong set of circumstances, replace democracy as we have known and enjoyed it,” he said.

It was “nonsense” that these companies were too big to regulate.  

BBC's Nick Robinson calls for a new style of journalism in Steve Hewlett Lecture

Nick Robinson delivering the inaugural Steve Hewlett Memorial Lecture (Credit: RTS/Paul Hampartsoumian)

The evidence is already clear that millennials largely ignore the news coverage of the traditional UK TV networks, said the Radio 4 Today presenter.

Unless broadcasters raise their game, Robinson said, there was a risk that quality news organisations like the BBC, ITN and Sky News would lose future generations of listeners and viewers.

Robinson, a former BBC and ITN political editor, said that erosion of trust in public institutions and the rise of alternative sources of news meant that traditional broadcasters needed to try harder.

It's time for the tech giants to admit they are media companies

Imagine that a broadcaster reaching over 1 billion people a day is making billions of pounds of profits every year, partly by distributing news coverage that includes numerous mistakes.

Imagine, too, that, when the broadcaster is called to account, its first proposed solution to the problem is to send out a message to viewers entitled “tips for spotting false news”. The first of the 10 tips is: “Be sceptical of headlines”.

The chances are that the broadcaster would be told that its so-called “new educational tool against misinformation” was hardly a satisfactory remedy.

Damian Collins: The MP influencing the TV sector

Five months into the role of Chair of the Culture, Media and Sport Committee of the House of Commons, and Damian Collins MP has consolidated a reputation as a well-informed politician with a decent grasp of key issues, ranging from fake news to the complexities of press regulation, post-Leveson.

His recent appearance at the Oxford Media Convention enhanced that reputation, with a speech stressing the seriousness of the fake news phenomenon.

The fight against fake news

Any politician who uses the words ‘fake news’ to describe something they don’t like from their opponent should be assaulted verbally by people in their own party and fellow parliamentarians – we have to fight for language,” Nick Robinson told an RTS early-evening event discussing false news and alternative facts.

At the event in late February, chaired by former ITN chief executive Stewart Purvis, Robinson argued for the continuation of “impartiality as a legal requirement for television news”.

Channel 4 News' Matt Frei: Facts, lies and Donald Trump

After a year on the campaign trail, Channel 4 News’ Matt Frei knows better than most the risks posed by the new US president, and the difficulties he presents the media.

“For us journalists, the tricky balancing act we have to perform in the next few years is being aware […] we no longer share the same assumptions about wealth creation, liberalism, [and] the nature of democracy [as much of the public],” Frei warns.

What is the future for honest journalism in an era of Fake News?

Robinson, a presenter on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, argued for “impartiality as a legal requirement for television news”. Without it, as in the US where “right wingers watch Fox News and liberals watch MSNBC”, he continued, “there are no shared facts. Good public policy decision-making requires shared facts.”

“What Facebook does, and what separate news channels for different opinions do, is give people the possibility to have their own facts,” added Robinson, a former political editor at both ITV News and the BBC.

Channel 4 announce Fake News week

Fake News

Fake news has become an interesting yet controversial topic that has dominated the internet and it is becoming increasingly difficult to distinguish what is real and what isn't.

As truth becomes increasingly determined by how many likes, clicks, shares or hits, Channel 4 News will explore where fake news actually comes from and the implications it has in a week long series of interviews and discussions.