27 September 2023

Journalists Call for a Common Front Against False Information

III World Summit on Disinformation, organized by IAPA, the Foundation for Journalism of Bolivia, and Proyecto Desconfío of Argentina

Miami (September 27, 2023) - With a call to sustain a common front to dismantle false and biased digital content, the III World Summit on Disinformation opened today in virtual form with speeches by leaders of news organizations that protect readers.

The president of the Inter American Press Association (IAPA), Michael Greenspon, highlighted in the opening session the importance of promoting quality journalism as an antidote against fake news and recalled the call of the Salta Declaration for the unity of all actors fighting against disinformation flows.

Renán Estenssoro, executive director of Fundación para el Periodismo de Bolivia, referred in particular to the situation in his country, where disinformation comes mainly from public officials who seek to create mistrust, which, in turn, leads to the polarization of society.

He also recalled that often, "people do not care or do not realize" that the information they spread or share is false.

The founder of Proyecto Desconfío de Argentina, Adrián Pino, pointed out that the Disinformation Summit in recent years has shown that "if we join forces, our capacity for impact can be greater."

In the first panel of the conference, Juan Torres, manager of the Disarming Disinformation program of the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ), said that his program is supported by a three-year, $3.8 million grant from the Scripps Howard Foundation, which has allowed him to research the strategies used to disinform and also to train journalists on how to counteract it.

Daniela Mendoza, general director of Verificado Mexico, referred to the offer of opportunities, services, and false promises received by hundreds of thousands of immigrants who risk their lives to reach the United States. She added that impunity is the norm, as the victims of the scams, in many cases, do not file legal complaints and, in addition, remain committed to their journey.

Olivia Sohr, Project Coordinator at Chequeado, Argentina, said that "understanding the trends and the actors behind the disinformation helps us to develop better strategies. She added that special interest groups take advantage of all the sensitive issues in society to exploit them for their benefit. She said the ability to detect these campaigns' financing is critical.

For her part, Jacqueline Sordi of the Brazilian magazine Questão de Ciencia stated that disinformation has claimed lives through false campaigns on health issues. In this regard, she denounced a company in the United States dedicated to selling "false health protocols that are very profitable."

The III World Summit on Disinformation will conclude on Thursday.

Registrations can still be made at this link.

IAPA is a non-profit organization dedicated to defending and promoting freedom of the press and expression in the Americas. It comprises more than 1,300 publications from the western hemisphere and is based in Miami, Florida, United States.