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LEADERS OF south Essex councils have backed a campaign to end fake news.

Phil Turner, leader of Basildon Council, Rob Gledhill, leader of Thurrock Council, Colin Riley, leader of Castle Point Council and John Lamb, leader of Southend Council have each spoken out about the importance of being able to trust the veracity of news stories.

As part of our industry’s Fighting Fake News campaign, local newspapers held an interactive Trusted News Day, which saw readers share their views and get in touch with us.

The aim of the event was for us at the Echo to give people a sense of what we do and how we do it, as well as helping you to feel our newsroom is always open to you.

This prompted council leaders to show their support to the campaign.

Phil Turner, Tory leader of Basildon Council, believes a strong working relationship between reputable newspapers and councils is the best way to inform the public of issues mattering to the community.

He said: “I think it’s vital factually correct news is published.

“It is a great way for residents to hear about what is happening in their borough. From our point of view, our plans for Wickford, Laindon and Pitsea.

“The news tells people about what is going on, the things that matter to them.”

Colin Riley, Tory leader of Castle Point Council, said: “It is important that the public hears real news, and that all stories are accurate.”

Rob Gledhill, Tory leader of Thurrock Council, says the authority has embarked on a new communications strategy to promote responsible journalism.

He said: “It basically aims to make sure that journalists are following the Editors’ Code of Practice. It is vital that headlines reflect stories and that they are properly verified.

“Everyone at the Thurrock Gazette and Echo has been open, honest and very reasonable.”

Ann Holland, deputy leader of Southend Council, said: “We work up a rapport with reporters, they trust us and we trust them.”