In my opinion, the most interesting aspect of the 2018 edition of the Reuters Digital News Report is the mixture of opinions from respondents to the prospect of increased government regulation of the press.
Instead, 75% of those asked believed the responsibility to fact-check stories for accuracy should be down to the journalists, as they believe the so-called ‘fake news’ is generated by them.
In addition to this, 71% of those asked believe that technology giants like Google and Facebook should be more accountable for such regulation. Opinions on intervention from governments, however, are much more mixed.
Support is greater for government involvement in Europe, but still by no means unanimous. It is most popular in Spain, with 72% of respondents supporting increased government regulation. It is believed this popularity is a result of the alleged use of Russian bots interfering in the Catalonian independence crisis. The UK, France and Germany all sit below this at around 60%.
The report shows that in the US the prospect of the government influencing the media is much less popular at just over 40%, a result believed to be influenced by claims of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.