LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s Queen Elizabeth gave a ringing endorsement of traditional media in a message to journalists on Monday, saying they were providing a vital public service during the COVID-19 pandemic.
At a time when established newspapers and television channels are routinely vilified and accused of producing “fake news” by U.S. President Donald Trump and other world leaders, the 94-year-old monarch’s message was a rare tribute.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has once again demonstrated what an important public service the established news media provides, both nationally and regionally,” she said in a message to members of Britain’s News Media Association.
“As our world has changed dramatically, having trusted, reliable sources of information, particularly at a time when there are so many sources competing for our attention, is vital,” the queen wrote.
The impact of social media on democracy, and particularly of the colossal flows of misinformation circulating among users, are the subjects of heated and unresolved debates in several major Western countries, especially the United States.
Under Britain’s unwritten constitution, the monarch does not usually speak on political matters. The queen’s decision to send a public message of support to the news media suggests she considers the subject to be uncontroversial.
Reporting by Estelle Shirbon; editing by Costas Pitas
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