BIRN reaffirmed the notion that those who care about democratic governance must keep asserting the importance of facts as a means of resisting government coercion. Panelists emphasized that the media has a responsibility towards providing not only the truth, but the ‘whole truth.’ Literacy is not enough. Challenging our assumptions, pondering relevant questions, and actively seeking additional information on what we are reading is mandatory to support factual accuracy.
Panelists said that though social media has the tendency to provide everyone with a voice, there is a troubling downside to this revolution. Social media has enabled the dissemination of fake news and contributes to misrepresentations of reality. Readers are confronted nowadays with a flood of fake information, and distinguishing between fact and fiction has become a challenge. During the panel discussion, participants shared their concerns about how misleading the news can be and shared best practices for approaching fake news. BIRN, along with other panelists, shared its advice with the wider public on resisting confirmation bias through the expansion of the sources of information we seek.