Efe president calls for united front in news verification

Madrid, Oct 27 (EFE).- The president of Spain’s Efe news agency, Gabriela Cañas, on Thursday called for a united effort in news verification, which she said was “essential” in preserving the truth. 

The head of the news agency also advocated for a more effective “solidarity” to be shown to media outlets that suffer attacks on their freedom of expression. 

Cañas was speaking at the inauguration of the 78th general assembly of the Inter American Press Association (IAPA) alongside the president of the organization, Honduran Jorge Canahuati.

Among the dangers to free expression, Cañas highlighted the fake news circulating on social media sites, which plays into populism, a “natural result of lies and simplistic proclamations.” 

She called for a uniting of efforts in news verification, underling Efe’s willingness to collaborate in the task with all “reliable” interested parties. 

Cañas noted the importance of social media, which “snatched the monopoly of information transmission from the media,” and are often seen by the public as “more reliable.” 

To that end, the president added, the digitalization of the media is not only necessary in becoming more effective, but is the “best method to boost the impact of our publications and bring the battle to the enemy (fake news) in their own territory.” 

Cañas praised the work of the IAPA in combatting “attacks on freedom of expression,” adding that Efe had also been affected in a “collateral manner” by attempts to silence journalists, although, she said, to a much lesser extent to the scale witnessed by media in the Americas. 

“We are obliged to fight” against attacks on free speech, Cañas said. 

She brought her speech to a close with remarks in defense of Spanish and Portuguese as digital languages. 

“English is hegemonic in the digital sphere, but fake news also circulates in many languages,” she said. 

“Our influence is decisive in offering the world the necessary plurality when telling or interpreting reality,” she concluded.

The 78th General Assembly of the IAPA is the first to be held in person after three years due to the pandemic, and will take place from Thursday until October 30. It brings together representatives of media from across the world. 

This is the third time that the IAPA, which brings together more than 1,200 publications from the Western Hemisphere, has held its annual meeting in Madrid, after meetings in 1992 and 2008.EFE

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