CIPR backs DCMS calls for tighter social media regulation

Dishonest communication aimed at influencing public behaviour poses a direct threat to democratic values, according to a report published by the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Committee. 

The cross-party report - Disinformation and 'fake news' - sets out a compelling case for subjecting social media companies to the same regulatory standards applied to traditional forms of media regulated by Ofcom.

The report calls on the Government to conduct research into the methods by which misinformation and disinformation are created and spread across the internet. 

Sarah Hall Chart.PR, FCIPR, CIPR President
This report is a pertinent reminder of the challenges facing modern media and society. Ethically competent public relations professionals can -  and must - play a key role in fighting fake news and data misuse. Our ability to deliver strategic value is dependent on honest and truthful communication. It's our responsibility to stand up for truth and denounce dishonest information in every form. 

But ultimately the solution to this issue will take multiple forms. Social media platforms must take more responsibility for content appearing on their sites. We echo the committee's calls for the creation of a third category, beyond 'platform' and 'publisher'. This will lay the foundation for sensible regulation which prioritises accuracy and impartiality, without compromising free speech. 
Sarah Hall Chart.PR, FCIPR, CIPR President

The document also recommends creating a public register for political advertising to improve campaigning transparency, an initiative backed by the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA).

Notes to editors

About the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR)
Founded in 1948, the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) is the Royal Chartered professional body for public relations practitioners in the UK and overseas. The CIPR is the largest membership organisation for PR practitioners outside of North America. By size of turnover and number of individually registered members, we are the leading representative body for the PR profession and industry in Europe.

The CIPR advances professionalism in public relations by making its members accountable to their employers and the public through a code of conduct and searchable public register, setting standards through training, qualifications, awards and the production of best practice and skills guidance, facilitating Continuing Professional Development (CPD), and awarding Chartered Public Relations Practitioner status (Chart.PR).