False, inaccurate and incomplete news: challenges facing journalists involuntary rectification. The Spanish experience

Antonio López Hidalgo, Ángeles Fernández Barrero


Journalists must verify information provided by their sources. However, factors such as job precariousness, urgency and the credibility they give to mainly institutional sources mean that journalists do not verify information. Most codes of conduct recommend the duty to correct information as soon as an unintentionally committed error is discovered, but journalists dislike recognising their own errors and even more so correcting them publicly. These circumstances affect adversely the quality of discourse and the credibility of mass-media. Ombudsmen partially bridge this gap. As a result, false, mistaken, wrong or biased pieces of news are published and journalists, against the rules of truth and honesty, rarely rectify on their own initiative. This article analyses the coverage of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction, in which the game of mimicry saw the same mistake repeated in different media and in different countries, although prestigious newspapers published an unusual public apology.


Credibility; voluntary rectification; accurate information; journalism quality; ethic

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.25200/BJR.v8n2.2012.326

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ISSN da versão online: 1981-9854

ISSN da versão impressa (descontinuada a partir de 2008): 1808-4079

Datas de publicação da revista

30 de abril - 30 de agosto - 30 de dezembro


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