Automated Journalism and Freedom of Information: Ethical and Juridical Problems Related to AI in the Press Field
Opinio Juris in Comparatione, 1/2018
20 Pages Posted: 24 Jan 2019 Last revised: 15 Jul 2020
Date Written: January 18, 2019
Journalism and the Press have always been deeply influenced by technological changes, and so they are in the digital world: from the competition of new media and the challenges of the Web 2.0 to the creation of a new way to produce news, i.e. automated journalism. Between the different notions of the use of AI in the Press field (automated journalism, robot journalism, News-Writing Bots, algorithmic journalism) in this paper the wording “automated journalism” is preferred as long as it seems to describe in a better way the practice of this type of journalism and it seems more used by the scholars who have studied this topic. Automated journalism is the use of AI, i.e. software or algorithms, in order to automatically generate news stories without any contribution of human beings, apart from that of programmers who (eventually) have developed the algorithm. This paper aims to analyse the ethical and juridical problems of automated journalism, in particular, looking at the freedom of information and focusing on the issue of liability and responsibility. From a legal point of view, the analysis shall embrace and share the European concept of the freedom of information and media regulation, focusing in particular on the Italian legal system. Indeed in the range of European legal systems, the Italian system has more broadly developed the idea of freedom of information, and it has multiple approaches to the topic, which are partially explored here. The first paragraph of the paper shall explore the field of the media outputs in which automated journalism – as currently developed – could produce innovations and could be implemented. The utilization of the Italian model serves to understand how the pieces of automated journalism could be framed from a legal point of view. The second paragraph shall analyse the legal and ethical problem of automated journalism by looking at the problems of liability and data use. As a consequence, a first section shall be dedicated to the issue of liability and another one to that of data utilization. In the final remarks, some solutions and guidelines shall be proposed looking at the problems highlighted in the paper.
Keywords: Automated Journalism, Freedom Of Information, Artificial Intelligence, Algorithm, Press, Journalism, natural language generation, robot journalism, news-writing bots, algorithmic journalism
JEL Classification: K
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation