ST. PETERSBURG, May 24. /TASS/. There is a need to develop verification mechanisms to counter fake news, TASS Director General Sergei Mikhailov said at a media summit held on the sidelines of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF).
"It is no news that media outlets have been using social media as sources of information, it is also no news that social media users learn about various events, particularly incidents, before the media do," he said. "It is impossible and wrong to ignore this, so professional media outlets should learn to make the most of it," Mikhailov added.
He also highlighted the need to create tools for communicating with users in order to employ them "as a network of civic journalists, active in various parts of the world, and at the same time resolve the verification issue."
It is too early to regard Telegram channels as serious news outlets, the TASS director general pointed out, adding that they were not yet capable of taking the audience away from the traditional media.
"It is too early to regard Telegram channels as independent media outlets. I think, even in two years it will be too early to talk about that," Mikhailov said. "I believe that the best of such channels that would stand the test of time and accuracy, will hold the audience’s interest and turn into a new kind of news outlets," he added.
At the same time, Mikhailov called for treating information spread by the messaging service with caution.
"These channels do not take the audience away from news outlets but they dilute it as another source of information that should be treated with caution because sometimes it is a stream of consciousness," he said.
The TASS-sponsored media summit, which took place on the sidelines of SPIEF on Thursday, involved the heads of nearly 30 biggest news outlets from countries such as Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Bulgaria, Egypt, Germany, Iran, Italy, Japan, Spain, the United States and Vietnam.
TASS First Deputy Director General Mikhail Gusman, who is Chairman of the Russian National Committee of UNESCO’s International Program for the Development of Communication, and Press Association Group CEO Clive Marshall moderated the event.
SPIEF-2018, dubbed "Creating an Economy of Trust," is taking place in St. Petersburg on May 24-26. TASS is the general information partner and the official photohost agency of the event. The news agency also operates the forum’s presentation zone, supported by the EY consulting company and Russia’s Foreign Investment Advisory Council.