Long live the (short-sighted) king?

The 2018 European Communication Monitor sheds a paradoxical light on how the continent's communications professionals respond to the challenge of fake news. Are they over-due a wake-up call?

The one eyed man is king, but only in the kingdom of the blind. In today’s fast moving social media world, are corporate communicators inhabiting such an apocryphal place when it comes to dealing with fake news?

In other words, are they merely short sighted or dealing with a more significant corporate blindness when managing fake news in Europe? This is a critical question following worrying findings from the 2018 European Communication Monitor report, which shows that a quarter of organisations have been affected by fake news in Europe in some form or other.

From the perspective of European communication practitioners, fake news is not only a buzzword in political debates, but also a daily threat for companies and other organisations across the continent. Moreover, what is the role of communication professionals, departments and agencies in generating, facilitating and/or propagating fake news?

Instances across the globe of political elections being influenced by fake news stories, fake news attacks on corporations and the interference of organised management and communication strategies (for example by Cambridge Analytica) have fuelled concern that fake news is subversive and potentially dangerous to organisations and society.

Ralph Tench

Ralph Tench is professor of communication at Leeds Beckett University, UK, where is also serves as the director of research for Leeds Business School. He is also the current President of EUPRERA (European Public Relations Research and Education Association).

Piet Verhoeven

Piet Verhoeven is an associate professor at the Amsterdam School of Communication Research of the University of Amsterdam in The Netherlands. Prior to becoming an academic in 2002, he worked in several positions ion public relations and communication, including for the Schiphol Group.

Dejan Verčič

Professor Dejan Verčič heads the Department of Communication at the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia. He is a former president of the European Public Relations Education and Research Association (EUPRERA) and since 1994 organiser of BledCom.