Discerning Fakes

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Gemma O’Doherty with Gabriel Mariya, European Commissioner in charge of Digital Economy and Society; Top: the expert group. from left :Wout van Wijk with Mariya Gabriel and INM’s Editor-in-Chief Stephen Rae

Following the appointment of INM editor in chief Stephen Rae to an expert group on fake news.

Luke ‘Ming Flanagan writes:

You would expect that those appointed to a High Level Expert Group (HLEG) to advise the European Commission on ‘the phenomenon of fake news, defining the roles and responsibilities of relevant stakeholders, grasping the international dimension, taking stock of the positions at stake, and formulating recommendations’ (to quote their own website) would be vetted to ensure they meet the very highest standards of journalistic integrity, that they hadn’t even the most remote association with anyone whose own record on media integrity was open to question.

You would be wrong.

The appointment of Stephen Rae of the Independent News Media (INM) to that European Commission HLEG was the source of major concern in Ireland, especially among those familiar with the actions of the major shareholder in INM, Mr Denis O’Brien.

Yesterday, along with award-winning journalist Gemma O’Doherty (removed from her job by Mr Rae while she was investigating police corruption), I met with Commissioner Gabriel to discuss those concerns. This is what we learned:

1) The selection process was seriously flawed;

a. Who decided on the final 39 people, from the original applicant bank of over 300? Nameless people from the European Commission services.

b. For such a critical group, who did the background checks on the applicants, the due diligence? No-one – according to the Commissioner ‘we didn’t have the resources for that’! All CVs were accepted at face value, so that – for example – someone who in their own background would have had a history of disseminating fake news, and/or incomplete news, and/or blatantly biased news, could make it onto the final group.

2) The Expert Group has produced its report, and according to the Commissioner, has now completed its mandate. Or maybe it hasn’t. Technically they’re in place to the end of the year, and in their report they have recommended that they should in fact meet again. The Commissioner would not dismiss this possibility, yet also insists they have completed their work.

3) The Commissioner isn’t remotely concerned about having someone about whom there are so many questions, not even when it was pointed out that the majority of active Irish MEPs believe this individual is a questionable appointment, at best.

Is this an acceptable appointment, is this an acceptable standard from the European Commission for making such appointments? I

n both instances I believe the answer is no, this is NOT acceptable. In the first instance I will work to end that appointment, in the second I will work to improve this practice.

Luke ‘Ming Flanagan MEP

Calls for Facebook code of practice in fighting ‘fake news’ (Kevin Doyle, Evening Herald)

24 thoughts on “Discerning Fakes

  1. Mayor Quimby

    Ming is the guy who fairly recently wrote a completely baloney report about Bank of Ireland shareholders. In it, he managed to allege that Wilbur Ross bought shares on the cheap and sold them at the high because of fraud sanctioned by the ECB. He really’s not one to talk about Fake News

    1. GiggidyGoo

      He sure is, when it’s a blatant as the above. Usual FGer tactics – attack the messenger. Good man.

      1. Taunton

        Ross bough shares at 10c and sold at between 25c and 30c.

        Now Giggidy you silly little commie, who will be next Taoiseach?

  2. Clampers Outside!

    Not fake news… Sky News discussion on Telford grooming gangs…. “two whistle blowers were fired”… not for the faint hearted…. left to do what they wanted for up to 40 years…. :/

  3. Truth in the News

    Why not a people’s petition to remove Rea, who promoted his appointment from Ireland…?

  4. Lilly

    Good for you Ming! What a joke, Stephen Rae investigating fake news. Maybe we could have Nóirín O’Sullivan investigate poor policing practices while we’re at it.

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