The BBC has taken aim at “false information and fake news” in its annual plan, which it says is aimed at “bringing the nation together”.
Setting out its priorities for the year ahead, the BBC said it will tackle “fake news” and “increasing polarisation” within British society by targeting schools.
The BBC School Report is a media literacy initiative spanning up to 1,000 schools across the UK that will see BBC journalists offer mentoring to help young people identify and filter out “fake news”.
As part of the initiative the BBC launched a “fake news” interactive game earlier this month. This, along with other free online materials, video tutorials and interactive activities can be used by pupils.
The corporation has also reconfirmed its aim to bring the UK “to the world”. A spokesperson said: “With state-controlled services influencing global debate and news provision, the value to democracy and liberty of the BBC’s global reach is higher than ever.”
The corporation has already undergone the largest expansion to its World Service since the 1940s following £289m in Government funding.
The service now operates in more than 40 languages worldwide and most recently opened new and expanded bureaux in Lagos, Bangkok, Belgrade, Cairo and Kathmandu.
BBC Director General Tony Hall said: “Alongside a great year of creativity, this year will see major milestones as we transform the BBC.
“This transformation is essential. Without it, the BBC will look increasingly analogue in a digital world, and small against giant global competition.
“A strong BBC can be a powerful force for the UK in years to come – championing the interests of audiences at home with trusted news and brilliant British content, and championing the values of the whole country abroad as the cornerstone of the UK’s creative strength and cultural influence.”
The plan also identifies the issue of media consumption in the UK as one of the “significant challenges” to deliver the BBC’s mission.
Changes in consumption habits among young people must be responded to and the BBC must “reinvent itself for a new generation”, the plan states.
It acknowledges that the corporation faces “further substantial savings” amid a “tougher” financial environment. BBC News has to make £80m in cuts by 2020.
The BBC’s plan states that the combination of frozen licence fees and “new obligations” have meant the BBC’s UK services are 20 per cent smaller in real terms than eight years ago.
Photo: Reuters/ Neil Hall