‘Fake news’ debate at King John’s Castle today

Emma O'Kelly
Emma O’Kelly

Journalists and PR professionals will launch a blistering attack on ‘fake news’ in King John’s Castle this afternoon.

Local and national media and public relations professionals will discuss, ‘The Truth in the News? The role of  Quality Journalism in the era of Fake News’ as part of the National Union of Journalists’ (NUJ) Local News Matters week, which will run in Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England, from March 24 to April 1.


The debate, which will begin at 2.30pm, is presented jointly by the Irish South West branch of the NUJ and the Public Relations Institute of Ireland (PRII), and is hosted by Shannon Heritage and Shannon Group plc.

Broadcaster Emma O’Kelly will ask the audience, “How do we, as journalists, combat so-called ‘Fake News’?”

The Limerick-born RTE Education Correspondent believes that journalists must ground their work in truth and fact, “not shying away from stories that are difficult or unpopular with the mainstream”, and “by rejecting lazy journalism and cliché.”

“I see the growing mistrust of traditional media, and the proliferation of alternative information sources, as a positive challenge to Journalism. If it helps keep us on our toes – and it should – then it’s a good thing,” Emma said ahead of the debate.

Another of the panellists, Cian Connaughton, is President of the Public Relations Institute of Ireland (PRII), the representative body for Ireland’s public relations industry, and he believes that education has a big role to play in ensuring people have the skills to filter the information they receive on a daily basis, including ‘fake news’.

“Funding of the media is also crucial and quality journalism needs to be paid for,” he said, and adds that “the challenge of ‘fake news’will not be easily won but there are some positive trends.”

The public relations profession has a role to play; Cian will tell the audience in King John’s Castle.

“The PRII and its members subscribe to rigorous ethical standards around communication, while the behaviour and tactics of Donald Trump’s communications team have rightly been called out by public relations representative bodies as unethical”.

Chairing the discussion is Nandi O’Sullivan, Head of Communications with Shannon Group plc who are hosting the debate, which begins at 2pm.

Admission is free and members of the media and public relations professionals are welcome to attend, as are the public, however, as numbers are very limited everyone is asked to please reserve a place right away by emailing [email protected] with your name and phone number.


Caption: Emma O’Kelly, RTE’s Education Correspondent, will take part in ‘The Truth in the News? The role of  Quality Journalism in the era of Fake News’ at King John’s Castle this Saturday.