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Canadians want transparent media AI policy, poll says
[May 01, 2023]

Canadians want transparent media AI policy, poll says

TORONTO, May 1, 2023 /CNW/ - A strong majority of Canadians (92%) believe that news organizations should have clear and transparent policies on how they use artificial intelligence (AI) technology to produce news and information, according to a recent survey by Maru Public Opinion for The Canadian Journalism Foundation (CJF).

A vast majority of Canadians are concerned AI in journalism will produce or spread misinformation (85%) and bring with it the potential for inaccuracy (86%). Furthermore, a significant number (85%) of Canadians believe that a governing body – not explicitly a government entity – should have strict oversight of AI practices in journalism.

As newsrooms around the world experiment with generative AI to create news and information on current affairs, health, real estate listings, quizzes and sports reports, the survey revealed that a majority of Canadians (57%) are concerned about its use to produce news. A majority (53%) also do not believe that AI is "just another tool" available to journalists, with an even larger number (68%) saying that the future of journalism will not be better by using machine-learning AI.

"With the rapid cascade of AI creating the potential for a deep-fake world, Canadians want journalists and their outlets to be transparent and accountable for their use of this ascendent tool," says John Wright, executive vice president of Maru Public Opinion. "At the end of the day, they want human beings with oversight to govern AI and its output and not to have it the other way around."

The CJF recently hosted a panel of global experts for aone-hour online discussion of the editorial and ethical issues surrounding the use of AI in journalism. A recording of that J-Talks Live event, "What Can Journalists Do that AI Can't?," is available on the CJF's website.

"Canadians need and want trustworthy, reliable, fact-based journalism – the antidote to misinformation," says Kathy English, chair of the CJF board of directors. "In these early days of discovery of how fast-moving generative AI technology such as Chat-GPT can – or should – be used in journalism, it's crucial that newsrooms establish robust, transparent policies and parameters to guide journalists and bolster public trust in our vital work.

"Journalism at its best is a human endeavour. These poll results tell us that Canadians want the media industry to take steps to ensure transparency with audiences in how and when it uses AI."

For this study, Maru Public Opinion contacted a random selection of 1,516 Canadian adults who are Maru Voice Canada online panelists. The estimated margin of error on a sample this size is +/- 2.5%, 19 times out of 20.

About the Canadian Journalism Foundation

Established in 1990, The Canadian Journalism Foundation promotes, celebrates and facilitates excellence in journalism. The foundation runs a prestigious annual awards and fellowship program featuring an industry gala where news leaders, journalists and corporate Canada gather to celebrate outstanding journalistic achievement and the value of professional journalism. Through monthly J-Talks, a public speakers' series, the CJF facilitates dialogue among journalists, business people, academics and students about the role of the media in Canadian society and the ongoing challenges for media in the digital era. The foundation also fosters opportunities for journalism education, training and research.

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SOURCE Canadian Journalism Foundation

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