France-based NGO Reporters Without Borders (RSF) launched its "Journalism Trust Initiative" on Tuesday, a platform aimed at battling disinformation by identifying and promoting "trustworthy" news sources.
The online tool allows media organisations to apply for certification as a trustworthy source through a three-step process that includes self-assessment and an external audit.
RSF hopes it will encourage third parties, including internet search engines and social media companies, to differentiate more clearly between sources of information.
In a statement, the organisation described it as a "game-changing transparency tool... with the aim of building a healthier news ecosystem, identifying and rewarding reliable reporting and restoring audiences' confidence in journalism at large."
The project was first announced in 2018 and has been co-funded by the European Commission and Craig Newmark Philanthropies.
"In the current information chaos, falsehoods, propaganda and hate speech have a competitive advantage over journalism," said Christophe Deloire, secretary general of RSF.
"If we want to get out of this downward spiral, we have to reverse the logic by incentivizing journalism through a trusted third-party mechanism."
RSF pointed to a recent study by Edelman Trust, a research group, which found that 74 percent of internet users are concerned about disinformation on social media.
The new tool was built in collaboration with 130 groups and individuals representing the media, academia, tech companies and regulatory bodies and is initially available in English, French, German and Spanish.
"Whether news organisations elect a light option of self-assessment of editorial processes, using the JTI web app, or opt for full audited certification, the move to explicit standards will help identify newsrooms with trustworthy processes," said Vincent Peyregne, CEO of the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers.