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CILIP responds to Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee Inquiry on Fake News & Disinformation


CILIP responds to Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee Inquiry on Fake News & Disinformation

CILIP, the UK professional association for librarians and information professionals, has responded to the final report of the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee inquiry on Fake news and Disinformation, calling on Government to recognise the vital role of librarians and information professionals in protecting the public from online harms.

Commenting on the final report, CILIP CEO Nick Poole said, “CILIP welcomes the findings in the CMS Committee report that ‘children and adults need to be equipped with the necessary information and critical analysis to understand content on social media, to work out what is accurate and trustworthy, and what is not’ – what we call ‘information literacy’.

As librarians and information professionals, we know that education – equipping children and adults with the ability to think critically and act responsibly online – is the only scalable long-term solution, which enables us both to manage the risks presented by the Internet while taking advantage of the tremendous opportunities.

We hope that in their forthcoming White Paper on Online Harms, HM Government will take the opportunity to work with our profession to target this issue by developing large-scale programmes focused on literacy, information literacy and digital skills.”

CILIP’s response highlights a number of key points, including:

  • CILIP welcomes the ‘rebalancing of power between the platform and the citizen’ envisaged in the report. We believe that citizens should be empowered with the tools, skills and information literacy to ensure that they are in control of how their data is used, shared and monetised in an online environment;
  • CILIP shares the Select Committee’s view that the ‘data-driven economy’ has become opaque, supported by a framework of extended agreements that is not transparent to or controllable by the end-user. We support proposals which would establish a stronger regulatory basis for public data transparency and accountability;
  • CILIP notes the negative impact of micro-targeted political campaigning on public trust in the democratic process. We welcome the recommendations in the Committee’s report to review and clarify the legal definitions of online political campaigning and political advertising and that the financing of political campaigning online should be transparent and accountable;
  • CILIP welcomes the Select Committee’s recognition of the urgent need to improve the public understanding of the central role of digital information in public life. This is the core business of our profession as librarians and information professionals and we welcome the opportunity to work with HM Government and partners to improve this awareness.

In response to the Report, CILIP will continue to liaise with the DCMS Online Harms and Disinformation team to ensure that the role of librarians and information professionals in combatting fake news and disinformation is recognised and embedded into related programmes and activities. CILIP will also publish an Information Rights Charter in 2019 which helps libraries explain to library users how their data will be used ethically and in accordance with the law.

Notes for Editors

CILIP is the UK’s library and information professional association, representing a UK workforce of approximately 87,000 people in more than 20 industry sectors. Our mission is to put library and information skills and professional values at the heart of an equal, democratic and prosperous society.

The Information Literacy Group (ILG) is the Special Interest Group that encourages debate and the exchange of knowledge in all aspects of information literacy. The Group provides a definition of information literacy and supporting materials via their website

For further information about CILIP and our work, visit



Press release 

Published:  18 February 2019


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