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Naga City youth leaders launch a grassroots dialogue for the Bicolano youth

By Johnny Estuya

Rotaract Club of Naga


B- YNFORmed 2.0 is working to increase community understanding of the value of crucial information engagement for young people’s development, education, and online safety. It also encourages meaningful youth-adult conversations and empowers young leaders.


The B - YNFORMed 2.0: “Youth as Frontliners in the Fight Against Infodemic’’ seminar was held on October 20, 2023 at the Jessie M. Robredo Amphitheatre. This seminar was the second installment of the YNFORM event, and it was attended by invited youth representatives from various school organizations as well as those out-of-school youth who were actively participating in the said seminar.


This event was organized with the effective collaboration of various organizations which were the Rotaract Club of Naga, The Democrat, and the Rotaract Club of Ateneo de Naga University collaborate with Youth-led Network for the Right to Information while it was co-sponsored by JCI Naga and Rotary Club of Naga Caceres.


Nowadays, a sizable platform that individuals utilize to obtain information is social media. In light of the upcoming Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BSKE) 2023, those participants looked forward to advice on how to evaluate information they came across in both online and offline forms of media.


The program flowed in the morning session with a panel discussion in which several panelists shared their experiences, knowledge, and expertise with the audience regarding how to manage the issues. Ms. Kyla Casulla, One Media TV48 Naga reporter and BUCAL courtside reporter and Ms. Nikayla Karell Odi, Chairperson, Sirang: Bicol Region Cluster, was the second panelist.


Casulla informed the audience on the procedures followed by journalists when gathering information for a news item.


“Dito na papasok ‘yung work namin as media practitioner. We are able to inform the public kung ano nga ba ‘yung totoo. We interviewed. We hear different perspectives. We always stand to the truth.,” she stated.


Additionally, Casulla stressed that “As a reporter, we need to give the right information, not just the information that the audience wants to hear.”

Meanwhile, Odi stated, “Huwag isipin kung mahirap, isipin kung mahalaga” in reference to tackling fake news. She explained that readers should be aware of fake news and assume responsibility as social media consumers.


Odi noted on the effects of unfriending the other party on social media, “We depend on the standing of the person in identifying reliability.” She asked the attendees to engage in constructive dialogue with individuals who hold divergent opinions in order to address the spread of incorrect information.


Two guest speakers offered their skills, knowledge, and experiences with the audience during the afternoon session. The first speaker’s topic, which was discussed in the audience, was “Scroll Out the Troll: A Media User’s Guide to Social Media Information Literacy.” tackled by Ms. Antonette Eduardo, Facilitator, College of (Nakalimutan ko pakilagay na lang po), was the first speaker. She warned us about trolls and how to use social media, especially for accessing information that might be not true at all.


According to her, trolls are those people or groups of people who are negatively influencing social media users and may come to create fake news or information that unquestionably tarnishes the integrity of the user of it. “Troll is an account that has no information, an unknown person spreading fake information,” Eduardo explained well.


Thereafter, Ms. Berlineth Nymia Montes, a former Naga City Youth Mayor, spoke on “YNFORMed Citizen: Basics of Identifying the Facts and Misinformation in Different Platforms” and shouted out for the state of our nation’s democracy.


“The Philippines still has democracy but it is under attack and so is press freedom,” she said of her experience.


On the other side, Montes emphasized the difference of misinformation, disinformation and malinformation that is usually misinterpreted by social media users about this information.


She clarified, “Misinformation is an unintentional mistake, an important detail forgotten to write. While disinformation means that are fabricated or lies. And also the malinformation which means is intentionally ruining someone else’s privacy to get information, harassing someone’s privacy.”


As social media users, it is the crucial part of identifying those issues that are important to address, particularly in this forthcoming Sangguniang Kabataang and Barangay Election (SKBE) 2023. The numerous types of misinformation, disinformation, and malinformation that are typically misunderstood by social media users were also addressed by Montes.


To end the session, Belle Ashley Macalintal the overallchairperson gave her closing statement with: “To combat the spread of fake news, it’s important to focus on education, media literacy, and holding accountable those who intentionally create and disseminate disinformation. Blaming the general public doesn’t address the root causes and may discourage open discourse and learning.”


At the end, the audience got the proper way of handling and managing the information gathered online and offline that is the primary goal of this event.

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