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Outgoing BBC director general Tony Hall has spoken up about the role of public service broadcasters in the battle against fake news during the opening address of the Edinburgh TV festival on Monday.

“Our responsibility as the U.K.’s most trusted news provider has never been clearer or more important,” Hall said. “It’s right at the heart of this duty to help bring the nation together.”

“The forces of disinformation and social media tend to feed on fracture and drive polarization,” Hall said. “They’re often specifically designed to exploit division for commercial or political gain; to unsettle societies or undermine democracy.”

“What we do, as a PSB, is a force in the opposite direction.”

The BBC is part of the Trusted News Initiative that is setting up an early warning system against the spread of disinformation during the upcoming U.S. Presidential election.

“BBC is more trusted in the U.S. than major U.S. providers,” Hall said. “More and more, in the fake news world, truth is a priceless commodity in our societies.”

The BBC hopes to reach a billion people by the end of the decade for which more funding is required. “That bid is with the government right now,” he said.

Hall said BBC’s responses to the coronavirus pandemic and also the killing of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter movement, saying that it has taught the corporation a lot.

“COVID has come along, and brutally exposed fault lines of deprivation and demography,” Hall said. “The killing of George Floyd has left no one in any doubt about the scale and feeling about injustice in our society.”

This was Hall’s last major public appearance before he hands over the BBC reins to Tim Davie on Sept. 1.