LABOUR leader Jeremy Corbyn is backing a campaign to tackle fake news and support trusted local journalism.

Mr Corbyn is backing the local press industry’s Fighting Fake News campaign which highlights the media industry’s essential role as investors in high quality trusted local news and the ability of local papers to make a difference through campaigning.

Fake news takes many forms and operates at several levels. At its most extreme and democratically destructive, it comprises deliberately and maliciously contrived statements which are cynically distributed in the guise of real news with the aim of deceiving for political or financial gain.

More frequently, it is an unsubstantiated rumour indiscriminately posted on social media sites which rapidly gains credence, to the distress of those featured in it and the alarm of all who read it.

Mr Corbyn, who was visiting York as part of Labour's General Election campaign, said: "I absolutely support the campaign, well done on putting it forward and well done on supporting it.

"I'm actually a member of the National Union of Journalists and I fully appreciate the work that's done by responsible journalists on local papers.

"Journalism at its best holds public officials to account, represents the concerns of the public and promotes real news.

"The danger of social media fake news is really, really serious."

Mr Corbyn highlighted how easy it is for people to make up news on social media, and urged those in danger of creating fake news to make sure they get stories right.

He added: "Someone can make up an incident that didn't happen or can accuse somebody of something they didn't do and it gains huge currency on social media in a way that a local paper couldn't because of laws of libel and journalistic standards.

"We have to remind everyone on social media the same standards should apply.

"If you're running a story, source it, if you're quoting somebody, be sure it's accurate, if you're accusing somebody of it remember there is a presumption of innocence until they are proven guilty."

The Fighting Fake News campaign is co-ordinated by Local Media Works, the local marketing arm of the News Media Association, and comes in the run up to Local Newspaper Week which begins on May 15.