The Society of Editors has said that the call from the Prime Minister for responsible reporting of the Coronavirus outbreak underscores the importance of the role played by mainstream media.
In his address to journalists, Boris Johnson outlined government plans to tackle Covid-19 and added that the media and social media had an important role to play. The Prime Minister said it was essential that reporting of the virus was responsible.
Ian Murray, executive director of the Society of Editors, said that it was almost impossible to expect the Wild West of social media to be able to present sensible and accurate coverage of the threat and this was a time to underscore the importance of the role the mainstream media is playing.
“It is only the mainstream media that provides edited news and information on this vital subject. This is too important an issue to be left to the vagaries of social media where conjecture, rumour and disinformation run rife.
“It is in the newsrooms of newspapers both national and regional, broadcast organisations and genuine online news outlets that every step is taken to ensure that the information produced is as accurate and fact-based as possible.
“It is heartening to see that the government has sensibly ended its boycott of some BBC news programmes which is a sign of the crucial role of the mainstream media in providing a platform for trusted information.”