Online news platforms should carry a ‘news quality obligation’ to improve trust in news they host, overseen by a regulator according to a report released today,

The Cairncross Review into the future of the UK news industry has delivered its final report, with recommendations on how to safeguard the future sustainability of the UK press and it also recommends that the Government should explore direct funding for local news and new tax reliefs to support public interest journalism.

Dame Frances was advised by a panel of experts from the local and national press, digital and physical publishers and advertising.

Her recommendations include measures to tackle the uneven balance of power between news publishers and the online platforms that distribute their content, and to address the growing risks to the future provision of public-interest news.

It also concludes that intervention may be needed to improve people’s ability to assess the quality of online news, and to measure their engagement with public interest news

Other recommendations include new forms of tax reliefs to encourage payments for online news content and support local and investigative journalism and that the BBC should do more to help local publishers and think further about how its news provision can act as a complement to commercial news;

The report found that half of UK adults worry about “fake news” or disinformation.

A quarter do not know how to verify sources of information they find online. So users need to get the right skills to spot fake news, and platforms must identify and quickly remove the deliberate spread of misinformation on their services.

Although news can be found on television and radio, written journalism (whether in print or online) originates the largest quantity of original journalism and is most at risk – particularly investigative journalism and democracy reporting.

Dame Frances Cairncross said:

The proposals I have put forward have the potential to improve the outlook for high quality journalism. They are designed to encourage new models to emerge, with the help of innovation not just in technology but in business systems and journalistic techniques.

DCMS Secretary of State Jeremy Wright said:

A healthy democracy needs high quality journalism to thrive and this report sets out the challenges to putting our news media on a stronger and more sustainable footing, in the face of changing technology and rising disinformation. There are some things we can take action on immediately while others will need further careful consideration with stakeholders on the best way forward.


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