Businesses across the region have said just how important our trusted news services are to them - and their success.
Two weeks ago, we launched a campaign Fighting Fake News and highlighted the very real dangers of fabricated stories peddled across social media.
We pointed out the lengths we go to to get every story right - from extensive training to upholding some of the most robust standards on the planet.
It is a campaign that is being supported by local papers across the UK.
This week, business people who depend on newspapers and websites to advertise their services explain why our trusted news reflected well on them - and underpin their values of quality and care.
Community leaders and residents have also spoken of the vital role our trusted news service plays in keeping the region strong, safe, and vibrant.
Rupert Toovey, a senior director of Toovey’s, the leading fine art auction house based at Washington and a priest in the Church of England Diocese of Chichester, said: ‘’Local newspapers play a very important role in helping to bind our communities together by engaging with them and keeping them informed.
‘‘In my experience, our weekly papers in this county can always be trusted to strive to report what is going on in the community in an honest, careful and thoughtful way.’’
Jon Dean, chairman, Roundabout Talking News, an entirely volunteer-run registered charity in Horsham, providing a free weekly recording of news and information from the County Times to the visually impaired of the district, said: ‘‘I am delighted to support your campaign to fight fake news. It is essential that we have a balanced and free press which has been verified and checked.
‘‘I am particularly involved not just as a reader but as someone reproducing the news in audio form for the visually impaired of Horsham and District through our local talking newspaper, Roundabout Talking News.
‘‘It is vital that the news we are sending on to those with such disabilities is accurate and fair to all and I wish you well in your combined effort.’’
Sandy Duck, secretary of Billingshurst Chamber of Commerce, said: ‘‘The Billingshurst Chamber of Commerce stands solidly behind the West Sussex County Times’ initiative to urge the next Government to take action against Fake News.
‘‘We totally endorse your campaign.’’
Tom Osborne, president, Horsham Lions Club, said: ‘‘Horsham Lions Club, as a member of Lions Clubs International, is totally nonsectarian, nonpolitical, open in membership to both sexes and with a mission statement: ‘To empower volunteers to serve their communities, meet, humanitarian needs, encourage peace and promote international understanding through Lions Clubs’.
‘‘To achieve this, it is important to have honesty in all aspects and we do not expect to receive false information from any individual, organisation or source.
‘‘At the same time we believe everyone has the right to free speech. but not to be slanderous or libellous.
‘‘Our own Code of Ethics, provides that we should be careful with our criticism, generous with our praise and to build up, not destroy.’’
If you’re not sure that a snippet of local news you’ve seen on social media is fact or fake we can check it out. Email our hotline at firstname.lastname@example.org with a screen grab of the item or all the details you have and our trained professionals will investigate. The story needs to be local and it must be passing itself off as news - perhaps it is an alleged crime or a claim about a council decision. We’ll let you know the outcome of our investigation - and we will share the truth with our readers too. If we don’t have the resources to check it out on this occasion will tell you that as well.