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Maria Ressa chairing international committee developing charter for AI use in media

The rapid deployment of artificial intelligence (AI) in the media industry is an unprecedented challenge, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said when launching an international committee to develop a charter regulating the use of AI in media. The committee will be chaired by Nobel Prize laureate Maria Ressa. The AI development presents a major threat to information integrity, RSF says. The committee is to present its result before the end of the year.

Media companies all over the world have issued policies on the use of AI based on the need to show what is written by humans and what has been produced using generative AI tools that can produce texts that look like written by humans.

Media has since many years used artificial intelligence in various ways. One of the first was US news agency Associated Press that developed AI tools that wrote short financial news reports based on companies’ quarterly reports. AP said using the AI tools had allowed the news agency to produce more news reports and that it also had limited the risks for mistakes.

Other media companies have used AI to write short sports news reports  based on match data and short news items based on court verdicts. However, using AI in the media has been more controversial since the launch of generative AI tools late last year as they can compile more complicated texts in a way that looks like written by humans.

49% of newsrooms are using tools like ChatGPT but only 20% have management guidelines on when and how to use GenAI tools, according to a recent survey made by publisher organisation EWAN-IFRA.

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The committee’s role is to develop a set of principles, rights, and obligations for information professionals regarding the use of AI-based systems. 

The initiative will be managed by Reporters without Borders (RSF) in partnership with major NGOs defending journalism (FPU, EJN, CPJ, IPI, GFMD), media representative organisations for the press (WAN-IFRA) and TV (ABU, EBU) as well as investigative journalism consortia (ICIJ, OCCRP). The reputation of the members and the diversity of the partner organisations should make this text a reference in the media industry.

List of the committee members : 

  • Maria Ressa (chair), 2021 Nobel Peace Prize laureate, journalist and founder of Rappler media (Philippines) 
  • Charlie Beckett, Professor at the Department of Media and Communications at the London School of Economics (United Kingdom) 
  • Emily Bell, Professor at the Columbia School of Journalism and Director of the Tow Center for Digital Journalism (United States)
  • Veysel Binbay, Director of Technology at the Asian Broadcasting Union (ABU) (Malaysia) 
  • Lisa Campbell, Director of Communications at Independent Television Network (ITN) (United Kingdom) 
  • Camille François, Faculty, Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs (France)
  • Jodie Ginsberg, President of the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) (United States)
  • Ruth Kronenburg, Executive Director of Free Press Unlimited (Netherlands) 
  • Gary Marcus, Professor emeritus of psychology and neural science at New York University, author and entrepreneur (United States)
  • Frane Maroevic, Executive Director of the International Press Institute (IPI) (Austria)
  • Mira Milosevic, Executive Director of the Global Forum for Media Development (GFMD) (Serbia) 
  • Tabani Moyo, Convenor of IFEX, Regional Director of the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) (Zimbabwe) 
  • Bruno Patino, President of the Franco-German channel Arte (France)
  • Paul Radu, Co-founder of the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) (Romania)
  • Martha Ramos, President of the World Editors Forum at the World Association of News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) (Mexico)
  • Gerard Ryle, Director of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) (Ireland)
  • Stuart Russell, Professor of Computer Science at the University of California, Berkeley and founder of the Center for Human-compatible AI (CHAI) (United States)
  • Eric Scherer, Chair, News Committee at the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) and Director of News MediaLab and International Affairs at France Télévisions (France) 
  • Anya Schiffrin, Director of the Specialization in Technology, Media, and Communications at Columbia University (United States) 
  • Wairagala Wakabi, Executive Director of the Collaboration on International ICT Policy in East and Southern Africa (CIPESA) (Uganda) 
  • Aidan White, founder of the Ethical Journalism Network (EJN) and former Secretary General of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) (United Kingdom)

“Artificial Intelligence systems present a crucial challenge for both journalism and media. Unfortunately, there isn’t enough encouragement for any single entity to utilise these tools ethically and judiciously”, says Christophe Deloire, secretary general of RSF.

“What we need is a collective global commitment, anchored in sound principles, to uphold the ethics of journalism and harness AI for preserving the right to information.” 

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