Disinformation and News Quality Code

PIJI delivered a submission to a Draft Voluntary Code of Practice on Disinformation, produced by Australia’s digital industry’s peak body, Digital Industry Group Incorporated (DIGI), in November 2020.

DIGI released a Final Voluntary Code of Practice on Disinformation and Misinformation in February 2021. PIJI has expressed concerns about the final version of the code in regards to a lack clarity around expectations for its signatories, and on the role of public interest journalism in combating misinformation.

Submission on the Draft Australian Code of Practice on Disinformation
November 2020
Key Recommendations
  • The code revisit the issue of news quality to emphasise the role that high-quality news plays in improving the digital information ecosystem
  • The code be expanded to cover all kinds of misinformation, rather than being limited to disinformation
  • Signatories to the code commit to transparency in delivering their obligations under the code, including publishing public action plans and reporting against them. Compliance with the code should be overseen by an independent authority or regulator
  • Certain terms that are key to establishing the scope of activities under the code receive clear and practical definitions, including ‘user-generated content’, ‘public benefit’, ‘harm’ and ‘inauthentic accounts’
  • Content and services included under the code should be sufficiently broad to address the challenge of misinformation.
Inquiry Background and Key Documents

The Disinformation and News Quality Code

In 2019, as part of its response to the Digital Platforms Inquiry, the Australian Government tasked the digital industry and the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) to develop a voluntary code on disinformation and news quality.

In June 2020 the ACMA released a position paper outlining its expectations of the code. Development of the code was led by Digital Industry Group Incorporated (DIGI).

Key Documents

Submission on the Draft Australian Code of Practice on Disinformation, PIJI, November 2020

Discussion Paper on An Australian Voluntary Code of Practice for Disinformation, DIGI, October 2020

Misinformation and news quality on digital platforms in Australia – A position paper to guide code development, ACMA, June 2020

Project Team

The submission was prepared by PIJI’s Policy Working Group, supported by:

  • Anna Draffin, Chief Executive Officer, Public Interest Journalism Initiative
  • Gary Dickson, Research and Projects Manager, Public Interest Journalism Initiative

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