The great challenge facing journalism this year, marked by the triple electoral process of May, is the fight against misinformation. The profession must be on guard against an "avalanche", internal and external, of false news and euphemisms that disguise reality. This is the panorama that this Friday has described of the president of the Federation of Associations of Journalists of Spain (FAPE), Nemesio Rodríguez.
During his speech at the Forum of New Communication, Rodriguez has predicted that in the coming months the public discourse will be contaminated by an avalanche of hoaxes and falsehoods, as has already been proven in other elections. "We have already seen in the Andalusian elections how the fear of immigration was fostered and questioned the importance of the law on gender violence with false data and percentages. Not everything is valid to gain votes, "he remarked, addressing politicians.
The president of FAPE has criticized the tendency to turn information into a show and to dramatize the news at all costs to gain audience or get more readers with deceptive headlines. When examining the coverage of the Julen case, the child who rushed to a well in Totalán (Málaga) on the 13th and for two weeks has caught the interest of the media, has urged that such information be covered "with rigor, without morbidity, without speculation or free guesses , without empty declarations, giving information only when there is one and respecting the right of relatives to privacy ".
The editors of the media have asked them to take the reins of information and "stop doing blind follow-up of the networks" to go on to develop their own agenda and defend it over the trends and viral syndrome that tries to seduce everyone. After praising the government's action to secure the release of the three journalists from the Efe agency detained in Venezuela, he has lamented the seizure of mobiles and computers to journalists of Europa Press and the Diario de Mallorca in the Balearics and the control of telephone calls by Efe editors.
A sign of the deterioration suffered by the journalism profession is the destruction of 13,000 jobs in a decade. The degradation of work has reached such a point that some media, Rodriguez said, pay 0.70 euros per article. "There are more than 3,000 digital media and few obtain benefits and pay with dignity," he explained. The directors of Mediaset have been reminded that the closure plan of Cuatro's news It is a decision that feels "a terrible precedent" in that the entire program will become pure spectacle and entertainment.
He also recalled the closing of BuzzFeed websites, the ERE for half of the Playground template, the uncertain future of Eslang, and the layoffs in The voice of Galicia and in the magazine Mine. "These are very difficult times for journalism, but there is little doubt that this office is more necessary than ever to organize and prioritize the flood of information that floods us, in a digital environment where it is difficult to distinguish between truth and lies and in the that the networks have broken the exclusive of the intermediation between the facts and the citizens that was in our hands, "he said.
For the president of the FAPE, in 2019 a model change is being designed for the Spanish press, which passes "from the total free to the collection of digital content". This transformation can only be done, he has emphasized, through quality journalism. "It is unthinkable that someone is willing to pay for mediocre or false news, poorly written, without reliable sources, with deceptive headlines, at the service of spurious interests. People can be tricked one, two and three times, but not always. "