February 23, 2021
A snap of the fingers doesn't have what it takes to vanquish disinformation.
This 19th of February 2021 had students don their capes and swing their wands to break their virtual curses. Holy Angel University’s BA Communication Program, in partnership with the Democracy and Disinformation Consortium as well as MovePH, successfully conducted its first regional conference entitled “Online and Active: Breaking Virtual Curses.”
The event reminds the public that living in the era of new media means living in the era of plotted lies. “While the Internet has democratized access to raw data and information, there will always be nefarious actors who will seek to exploit this democratized access,” said the University President Dr. Luis Maria Calingo in his inspirational message.
To aid the public in serving as the guardians of truth, Rappler CEO Maria Ressa speaks on the dangers of apathy. She stresses the importance of holding the line at this moment in time where lies could kill. “Without facts, you can’t have truth. Without truth, you can’t have trust. Without all these three, you don’t have a functioning democracy.”
Lies right now are being pounded and prioritized than the truth. Social media platforms’ granted liberties are removing the context from published contents.
Philippine Daily Inquirer columnist John Nery discusses this practice of contextualization. He explains that breaking the curse of disinformation calls for the journalistic virtues of skepticism, fairness, and verification. Anyone can create, but anyone can also and should be the context in this day and age. “People make the moral choice to fabricate information and then to share the fabricated information.”
As the final magic to cast in being online and active, Tiktok star Gab Campos speaks on strengthening the voices of youth. He emphasizes the idea that age doesn’t restrict a person to engage in political and social discourse. “Importante ka sa lipunan at valid ang mga karanasan mo (You’re important in society and your experiences are valid).”
As lies spread at breakneck speed, courage also spread if given the opportunity. Ressa, Nery, and Campos made the public realize that no matter how much the truth is tested, it can still be defended.
More workshops and conferences similar to this are expected to happen in the coming months of March, April, and May. Channeling the magic to secure democracy and posterity doesn’t end with this first regional conference.