By Fabio Agrana
Data journalism and the independent media of the political and economic powers are the best alternative to face the phenomenon of "fake news" threatening the information gathered in the newsrooms.
This assessment is made by Spanish journalists Juan Fernández Miranda and Álvaro Nieto, who are part of the Arekuna Forum in Spain and this week are in Panama giving lectures and participating in conferences.
Fernández, chief editor of the newspaper ABC of Spain, told Efe he believes in the importance of basing information on credible data and on real data that reflects what is happening, which fits into the meaning of data journalism.
"Precisely data journalism, real data, compared to 'fake news', compared to the orchestrated campaigns,” said Fernández.
However, the ABC journalist opts better to use in Spanish the "excellent translation" of the Anglo-Saxon term fake news, which means false news, which, he said, "is much easier to understand."
He also considered that "the very use of the term 'fake news' in the Spanish-speaking world is a concession to false news, it is the permanent temptation to use information in the benefit of power".
"What we as journalists have to do is showing support for our work. I insist once again, on the data, on the contrast, on the truthful information, to offer the citizens what our obligation is, which is the closest possible approximation to reality," Fernández said.
Meanwhile, Álvaro Nieto, international journalist and former chief editor of the Barometer of El País newspaper in Spain, told Efe that the best weapon against fake news is the independent media, both from economic and political powers".
Nieto stressed that "the weaker the media and the more subjected they are to any kind of pressures, the less rigorous they are in the practice of their professional work and the more vulnerable they are to all kinds of phenomena such as 'fake news'."
He said that this is why "it is important to support powerful media, which are the bearers of quality and reliable information that citizens can trust".
"Because right now there is a lot of junk circulating on social networks, mainly on the internet, and I think we have to highlight that in the face of this proliferation of junk, traditional media bring light and provide accurate information," Nieto said.
Fernández and Nieto are part of the Arekuna Forum, a non-profit association dedicated to creating a meeting place for professionals in the world of communication.
It is made up of more than 80 journalists, such as media directors, columnists, correspondents or commentators.
Their goals include to hold periodic meetings attended by distinguished guests from the political, economic, social and cultural arena, two or three times a week in Spain, as well as to establish stable and lasting links with the media of other countries and their professionals.