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 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 DIGI, the digital industry’s peak body. The final code was released on 18 February 2021. PIJI expressed deep concerns about the final version of the code, noting that it falls well short of expectations.
Contributions to the draft code
The draft code was released for consultation in October 2020. PIJI’s recommendations included the following:
- 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.
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