Published on Tue, 07/23/2019 by News Media Canada | Médias d'Info Canada

News Media Canada joins the fight against fake news

New educational program funded by the Digital Citizen Initiative of the Department of Canadian Heritage will help Canadians ‘SPOT’ flaws in online news stories

“There is an urgent need to ensure that all Canadians can critically assess what they’re reading and watching online.”

TORONTO, July 23, 2019 —/COMMUNITYWIRE/— With new funding from the Digital Citizen Initiative of the Department of Canadian Heritage, News Media Canada today announced plans to launch an educational program to empower Canadians in the fight against fake news. SPOT Fake News Online will provide a simple tool to help Canadians of all ages critically assess online news and information by asking four critical questions when reading information online:

  • S: Is this a credible Source?
  • P:  is the Perspective biased?
  • O: are Other sources reporting the same story?
  • T: is the story Timely?

“We know that 65% of Canadians are worried about false information being used as a weapon,” said John Hinds, President and CEO of News Media Canada. “And as we head into an election this fall, we know that fake news is an especially pressing issue.”

“Access to accurate, diverse and relevant news is crucial to our democracy,” said The Honourable Pablo Rodriguez, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Multiculturalism when announcing the funding being provided to News Media Canada and other citizen-focused activities. “In response to the increase in disinformation published online and through social media, our government has made it a priority to help equip citizens with the tools and skills needed to critically assess online information.”

The multi-faceted and bilingual SPOT Fake News Online program will launch this fall, and will include educational video content, a new microsite, a national PR campaign and a comprehensive print and digital newspaper advertising campaign in News Media Canada’s member newspapers. News Media Canada is the national association of the Canadian news media industry, with members in every province and territory.

“There is an urgent need to ensure that all Canadians can critically assess what they’re reading and watching online. We’re thankful to the Canadian government for recognizing this need, and proud to be launching a tangible tool through our SPOT Fake News Online campaign to help build citizens' critical thinking, preparedness and increase resiliency to disinformation,” concludes Hinds.

Funding for this new initiative is part of a $7 million allocation that was announced in January of this year. All programs being funded by Canadian Heritage promote civic, news and digital media literacy to help citizens become resilient against online harms. Canadian Heritage will also invest $19.4 million over four years in a new Digital Citizen Research Program to help Canadians understand online disinformation and its impact on Canadian society, and to build the evidence base that will be used to identify possible actions and future policy-making in this space.

About News Media Canada

News Media Canada is the voice of the print and digital news media industry in Canada and represents hundreds of trusted titles in every province and territory. News Media Canada is an advocate in public policy for daily and community media outlets and contributes to the ongoing evolution of the news media industry by raising awareness and promoting the benefits of news media across all platforms. For more information, visit our website at or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

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For more information, please contact:

Melissa Retty, Craft Public Relations