Police targeting journalists in the US, the decline in trust in UK government and media, and how to help people fact-check on their own

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Edited by Marco Nurra


Police — not protesters — are overwhelmingly responsible for attacking journalists. The scale of the attacks is so large, it can be hard to fathom. The U.S. Press Freedom Tracker, a project of Freedom of the Press Foundation and the Committee to Protect Journalists, catalogued 150 press freedom violations in the United States in all of 2019. They are currently investigating 280 from just the last week. “Although in some incidents it is possible the journalists were hit or affected accidentally, in the majority of the cases we have recorded the journalists are clearly identifiable as press, and it is clear that they are being deliberately targeted,” writes Bellingcat’s Nick Waters.

New York Times staffers band together to protest Tom Cotton’s anti-protest op-ed. New York Times journalists are banding together in protest after the paper ran an op-ed by Senator Tom Cotton arguing that the United States government should call in the U.S. military to quash the people who are protesting the alleged murder of George Floyd, a black man, by a white police officer. Times management spent the day defending the op-ed. Then, on Thursday evening, the Times PR team released a statement saying that Cotton’s op-ed did not meet their standards. “Before Donald Trump became president, most newspaper op-ed pages sought to present a spectrum of politically significant opinion and argument, which they could largely do while walling off extremist propaganda and incitement. The Trump presidency has undermined that model, because there’s generally no way to defend the administration without being either bigoted or dishonest,” writes Michelle Goldberg, op-ed columnist for The New York Times.

23 guidelines for journalists to safely cover protests. As demonstrators nationwide continue to protest police brutality, here are things journalists can do to stay safe.

Misinformation about George Floyd protests surges on social media. In the universe of false online information, Mr. Floyd remains alive and George Soros is to blame for the protests.

Trust in UK government and news media COVID-19 information down, concerns over misinformation from government and politicians up. The decline in trust in the UK government has happened across the political spectrum, including among those on the right (down 10 percentage points), as well as among people in the centre (down 19 percentage points) and on the left (down 24 percentage points). Trust in news is much less politically polarised.

How to talk to family and friends about that misleading WhatsApp message. Showing empathy and not expecting immediate changes in behaviour are recommended approaches for someone who has shared misinformation.

Helping people fact-check on their own. To stem the spread of falsehoods, some journalists and fact-checkers are sharing basic fact-checking and verification strategies with their audiences.

Emergency funding for 5,300+ local news organizations. COVID-19 has upended the news industry, hitting local news particularly hard with job losses, furloughs, cutbacks and even closure. To provide some help, last month the Google News Initiative launched the Journalism Emergency Relief Fund. More than 5,300 small and medium local newsrooms around the world will receive funding ranging from $5,000 – $30,000.

Facebook will start labeling pages and posts from state-controlled media. The labels will immediately start appearing on pages belonging to outlets such as state-run Russia Today and China’s Xinhua. Starting next week, users in the United States will start to see the label appear on these outlets’ individual posts — labels that will eventually be introduced in other countries.

Kremlin expands online voting possibilities amid COVID-19 fears. After the Russian government passed a bill expanding possibilities for voting online and by post, journalists and digital rights activists have started to question its potential for abuse.

Peru: at least 20 journalists died from Covid-19 as they covered pandemic. Country is Latin America’s second worst-hit with more than 164,000 coronavirus cases and 4,500 deaths.

Image via Poynter