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Ministry of Truth: Hawaii Lawmakers Call for Set Standards for Ethical News Sources

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Lawmakers in the US state of Hawaii are trying to get a journalist association there to come up with and adhere to a new “process” that would make sure their sources are “ethical and objective.”

This comes in the shape of a state Senate resolution asking the Society of Professional Journalists chapter in Hawaii to find a way to carry out such evaluation.

This week, the resolution was passed by the Judiciary Committee with no votes against or abstainees, and is now headed for adoption by the Senate.

The resolution was introduced by Senator Chris Lee, and explained as a way to “help” the public understand who might be spreading “misinformation.”

We obtained a copy of the resolution for you here.

According to Lee – who has apparently taken it upon himself to decide what is and isn’t misinformation – the latter is “repeated nearly every day” in the community.

His comments reveal what he considers true information – that coming from “reputable news organizations,” as opposed to social media posts.

His faith in “reputable” outlets seems to stem from their supposed ethical and transparent professional practices, not to mention, vetting the information.

But, not everyone shares his stance, with one obvious point of criticism being that government bodies shouldn’t be the ones with the power to “anoint” one news source as reputable over another.

That, opponents of such trends in general would say, brings a society closer to having a “ministry of truth” than flourishing democratic authorities.

The resolution, being non-binding, can be interpreted as a form of pressure on the local Professional Journalists chapter.

In addition to pushing for protection of unbiased reporting, truth, and countering “misinformation,” it also speaks about the digital economy causing the downfall of independent local media.

In this context, the text continues, legacy media consolidated and became “increasingly more expensive to access for Americans.”

And, according to the resolution’s authors, this space has been taken up by social media which lets “some organizations and individuals with broad reach presenting themselves as news sources to intentionally or inadvertently spread misinformation.”

Not missing the opportunity to insult the average person, the document goes on that in such circumstances, the average person finds it “difficult to distinguish truth from fiction” – and that’s where the new “process” should come in to help out.

“The Hawaii Professional Chapter of the Society of professional Journalists is requested to establish a process to evaluate and identify sources of news that adhere to ethical and objective journalistic standards to help the public distinguish those that may proliferate misinformation,” the resolution concludes.

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