Sorsogon media launches drive vs fake news
By Bobby Q. Labalan SORSOGON CITY --- Members of the local media in the province of Sorsogon have bonded together as they launched a campaign against the rising incidents of fake news. Journalists here have initiated a two-day forum dubbed “Social Media and the Rise of Fake News” which aims to educate the public, particularly the young generation on the perils brought about by social media as well as the dangers caused by fake news. Lawyer Joven Laura, vice-president of the Sorsogon Organization of Newswriters, Announcer and Reporters (SONAR) which spearheaded the activity, said that it is important to guide the public on the proper use of the social media, especially the youth, as they comprise the biggest bulk of internet users. Laura stressed that teenagers are often victimized by cyber criminals due to their innocence and lack of knowledge about the implications of their actions as netizens. “Young people are the most active in cyber world such that they become prone to cyber criminals,” he stressed as he urged the students of Sorsogon National High School where the first forum was held yesterday afternoon. Laura enlightened the participants on the provisions of cybercrime prevention law and other statutes which govern on-line activites. In her talk which centred on fake news, Rowena Paraan, head of ABS-CBN’s Public Affairs Department and former chairperson of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines, urged the participants to be more discerning of the news that they encounter on-line. Paraan told the audience composed mostly of senior high school students to always check the source of the information or articles before they act on them like sharing or commenting lest they become victims of fake information. “Always double check the information, check if they also appear in legitimate media organizations so that you would know the veracity of the information,” she advised. Paraan said the proliferation of “fake news” is largely attributable to trolls who now inhabit the cyber world, especially the paid trolls. Manuel Matus, Jr, SONAR secretary, said “fake news is not only anathema to us, journalists, but to all those who want truth, it endangers not only those who rely on news but all of us who are rely on truth”. He stressed that many of us act based on information we receive from others, thus it is very dangerous if we act based on fake information. Matus said it is this reason that compelled them to initiate the conduct of the forum in partnership with media giant ABS-CBN and SNHS, Sorsogon State College and Saint Louise de Marillac College. The organization hopes that through public discussion, more people would be enlightened about fake news which it said is more correctly termed as false information.