Battling Against Fake News in Britain and Greece: can the mainstream media win?

Hosted by the Hellenic Observatory and the Anglo-Hellenic League

Online public event, United Kingdom


Tony Barber

Tony Barber

Nikos Konstandaras

Nikos Konstandaras

David Patrikarakos

David Patrikarakos

Eleni Varvitsioti

Eleni Varvitsioti


Professor Kevin Featherstone

Professor Kevin Featherstone


Professor Kevin Featherstone

John Kittmer

The challenge of ‘fake’ news, whether from social media or in more mainstream news sources, is a cause for concern in Britain and Greece, as well as internationally. It feeds on declining levels of trust in politics, the disparaging of expertise, and populist revolts – which provide scope for seemingly fanciful news stories. How can responsible mainstream media respond effectively to the spread of fake news? Is it a battle that can only be won by deeper socio-economic shifts occurring? Here we compared the cases of Britain and Greece and looked for the wider lessons to be learnt. 

Meet our speakers, moderator and chair 

Tony Barber is European Comment Editor at the Financial Times in London. He joined the newspaper in 1997 and served as bureau chief in Frankfurt (1998-2002), Rome (2002-2007) and Brussels (2007-2010). He was Europe Editor from 2010 to September 2018. In 2012 Tony was awarded the Medal of Gratitude by the Solidarity Centre in Gdansk in recognition of his work in support of freedom and democracy in Poland in the 1980s. He started his career in 1981 at Reuters news agency and among the major world events on which he has reported on the ground are the 1986 Chernobyl accident, the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, the fall of eastern European communism in 1989, the 1991-95 wars of the Yugoslav succession, the death of Pope John Paul II in 2005, the post-2008 banking sector and eurozone debt crisis, and the 2017 Catalonian separatist challenge in Spain.

Nikos Konstandaras is a columnist for the newspaper Kathimerini and a contributing op-ed writer for the New York Times International Edition. He is the founding editor of Kathimerini’s English Edition, which is published as a supplement to the New York Times in Greece and Cyprus, and he edited it from 1998 to 2017. He was managing editor of the Greek edition of Kathimerini from 2004 to 2017. He studied Ancient Greek (MA, Wits., S. Africa) and worked as a correspondent for The Associated Press in Athens from 1989 to 1997, covering the broader region.

David Patrikarakos is an internationally-acclaimed author and analyst. He has written for every major publication in the United States, Britain and Israel, and his last book War in 140 Characters: How Social Media is Reshaping Conflict in 21st Century was published in November 2017 and received global acclaim. It is now taught at on information war courses at West Point and Sandhurst, and is on the required reading list for NATO Allied operations Noncommissioned Officers. He has lectured extensively in both the US and UK, including Harvard, Yale, Oxford, West Point, British army HQ and the 77thBrigade. He also works with think tanks and governments and militaries and he has briefed Parliament, the Foreign Office and MPs on the Middle East and Eastern Europe.

Eleni Varvitsioti is the Greece and Cyprus correspondent for the Financial Times, recently back in Athens after six years as EU correspondent in Brussels, for Greece’s leading newspaper KATHIMERINI and TV station SKAI.

John Kittmer is a former British diplomat and civil servant. He spent his career in several departments of the British Government, including the Foreign Office and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. In 2016-17, he served as the Director of Overseas Territories at the Foreign Office; in 2013-2016, he was the British Ambassador to Greece. He is now Chair of the boards of The Anglo-Hellenic League and the Gilbert Murray Trust, and a member of the board of Okeanis Eco Tankers Corp. A graduate of Cambridge University and King’s College London, he holds degrees in Classics and Modern Greek Studies, and has a doctorate in Modern Greek literature. He is preparing books about C.P. Cavafy and Yannis Ritsos. He lives in London.

Kevin Featherstone is Eleftherios Venizelos Professor in Contemporary Greek Studies and Professor in European Politics in the European Institute at LSE, where he is also Director of the Hellenic Observatory.

More about this event

The Hellenic Observatory (@HO_LSE) is internationally recognised as one of the premier research centres on contemporary Greece and Cyprus. It engages in a range of activities, including developing and supporting academic and policy-related research; organisation of conferences, seminars and workshops; academic exchange through visiting fellowships and internships; as well as teaching at the graduate level through LSE's European Institute.

The Anglo-Hellenic League was founded in the aftermath of the 1912-13 Balkan Wars in order to counter anti-Greek propaganda in the United Kingdom. Dedicated to promoting Anglo-Greek understanding and friendship, the League has a long history of charitable and cultural work.

The twitter Hashtag for this event is: #LSEGreece


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