March 23, 2021
Amid the ongoing battle against fake news and disinformation, the Consortium on Democracy and Disinformation (D&D), in collaboration with Holy Angel University’s (HAU) BA Communication program and The Nexus, hosts “True Ba? Real Tea Ba?”, a virtual fact-checking workshop, on March 19, 2021.
The two-hour conference was held via Zoom Meeting and was livestreamed on the official Facebook pages of the HAU Communicators’ League (CommLeague), The Nexus, and HAU.
Rappler journalist Mara Cepeda and ABS-CBN News reporter Jervis Manahan, joined the workshop as guest speakers.
Cepeda, in her talk, highlighted the role of journalists as watchdogs and gatekeepers especially in a time of fake news.
“Sometimes ‘pag may hihirit lalo na congressman na, bakit ba kino-call out niyo kami sa ganito, ‘pag ibang tao naman yung gumawa, hindi naman ito magiging issue’... When they don’t do their job, responsibility natin to call them out...” Cepeda said. “Trabaho natin [as a reporter] na [dapat] alam natin when politicians are lying or not…”
Cepeda also shared how journalists feel in releasing news stories now that trolls have begun dominating various social media platforms.
"The age of disinformation poses new challenges to journalists, and there is more pressure to report quickly and accurately [that] even an honest mistake can be fodder for trolls,” she added.
Manahan, on the other hand, tackled the nuances of media framing and how people perceive the truth.
"We live in a world with a distorted perception of truth,” he stated. “Something that we have to untack is to update for certain reports — kanina tama, ngayon mali, and vice versa. We have to look for angles if something is true or false."
Further, Manahan also reiterated that objectivity is only a myth, especially in news writing.
"It's never objective, the moment we choose the story to write. The power to gatekeep is already bias, what’s important is [that] what we present to the public is accurate."
The said fact-checking workshop is part of the HAU Comm program’s commitment as one of the school-based hubs of the said organization. The D&D is a nationwide network of journalists, academics, bloggers, and civil society representatives in the Philippines.