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Labour – Political Party Conference 2019

23rd September @ 5:00 pm - 6:30 pm

The Fake Times: Fake News, Politics, Society and You!

A joint Big Innovation Centre and New Statesman fringe event

Labour Political Party Conference
Monday 23rd September, 17:00pm-18:30pm
Hilton Brighton Metropole, Preston room

Download our Provocation Paper for the event – LINK to download 

Event theme: 
The event will bring together politicians, journalists, and public figures. The discussion will focus on the origin of fake news, its effects, and how to resist it.

Although fake news dominates the headlines, it’s increasingly difficult to work out what it actually means. Initially used to describe factually false information, it has become a way for people and politicians to dismiss negative news coverage. The media’s political coverage has rarely been completely impartial, but today’s toxicity is unprecedented.

As the public’s trust in experts and institutions plunges, the dual epidemics of fake news – note its attendant anti-vaxx movement – and measles show how the quality of our information dictates the quality of our lives. With online content easier than ever to access, and the concept of objectivity under threat, we need to improve our societal media literacy. High-quality information should be considered as a public utility, and regulated appropriately. It is important to explore whether the private sector is better protected against fake news than the public sector, and the consequences for capitalism if not.
For most people, news is increasingly accessed online, where advertising revenue is declining. Clickbait journalism evolved in the subsequent scramble for online traffic, but has contributed to the decrease of public trust in journalism. Studies indicate that over-65s – whose turnout disproportionately influences elections – are likelier than any other age group to share fake news on Facebook.

Is social media to blame, do we all live in echo chambers and reject anything that contradicts our worldview – or is the epidemic of fake news an expression of something broader? How can we tell when something is true? Should there be penalties for publishing fake news?

Speakers:
  • Angela Eagle MP
  • Professor Birgitte Andersen, CEO of the Big Innovation Centre
  • Will Hutton, political commentator

More Speakers to be announced soon.