August 5, 2021
South East Asia HEIs convene for HAU, D&D’s 1st international research colloquium
In the scholarly pursuit toward combating and moving forward disinformation, higher education institutions (HEIs) from Indonesia, Thailand, and the Northern Philippines gather for Holy Angel University’s first international research colloquium, “Learning How to Trust”: Fighting Disinformation Through Verification and Fact-Checking, August 6, Friday.
Spearheaded by the School of Arts and Sciences’ (SAS) Bachelor of Arts in Communication program in partnership with the Consortium on Democracy and Disinformation (D&D), the program’s long-standing battle with fake news brought a team of researchers and academics from Indonesia’s University of Surabaya (US), Thailand’s Mahamakut Buddhist University (MBU), and the Philippines’ Don Mariano Marcos Memorial State University - North La Union Campus (DMMMSU).
Entitled “A study on fake news verification practices among higher education institutions in Indonesia, the Philippines, and Thailand”, the culminating research study by the group led by SAS Research Facilitator Dr. Edgar Delalamon garnered a total of 678 respondents in all three representative universities, with the results presented in the said virtual conference. Its aim centered on gauging the students’ knowledge and vulnerability to detecting fake news in today’s digital age.
Indo and Filipino studes showcase fake news awareness, Thai studes stay ‘neutral’
Delving into the study’s outcomes, results show little susceptibility to disinformation was manifested by selected students from Indonesia and Northern Philippines. US’s Associate Criminal Law Professor Dr. Go Lisanawati shared that their students displayed high levels of awareness in identifying false narratives online.
Likewise for DMMMSU as General Education Program Chairperson Prof. Macrina Batoon and Bachelor of Arts in English Language Program Chairperson Prof. Frediz Winda Badua emphasized their commitment to “disseminate information [to students] through webinars” for them to distinguish what is true from false.
Meanwhile, results from Mahamakut Buddhist University differ, with college students showing overall neutrality in their response, approach, and regard to fake news and fact-checking practices.
“This could mean that [the] respondents have less interest or do not have enough information on fake news,” said English Lecturer Miss Narumon Chumcharuoensuk on the selected MBU students’ neutral stance.
Moving forward disinformation a ‘continuous campaign’ — Dr. Delalamon
Despite the study concluding that students from the three Southeast Asian universities possess the required knowledge in verifying fake news and are less vulnerable to it, SAS Dean Janette Rodriguez reiterated the need to be on guard and establish “continued vigilance” in the ongoing anti-disinformation crusade.
This, as per Rodriguez’s perspective, can be done by intensifying research undertakings, establishing and expanding linkages with HEIs in neighboring countries as well as maximizing digital spaces by strengthening anti-disinformation campaigns and persuading other institutions to do so.
Echoing Rodriguez’s sentiment, Delalamon reflected on the study’s implications on the participating HEIs’ commitment in fighting disinformation.
“It is a continuous campaign,” he exclaimed upon sharing the number of HEIs in the three SEA countries. “If we conduct the same study in other institutions, do you think we’re going to have the same results?”
Other proponents of the study present at the said juncture include BA Comm Program Chairperson Dr. Leslie Manalo-Medina as well as fellow educators Prof. Rommel Combis and Prof. Cliff Ransom Wendell Lilangan.
Comm seniors share anti-disinfo campaign success
In response to the current learning setup, 14 BA Comm seniors also presented the series of anti-disinformation advocacy campaigns held in the first half of 2021 at the said conference.
Entitled “Knowing What to Trust”: A Review of the Anti-Disinformation Campaigns of HAU and the D&D Consortium in Central Luzon, three virtual fact-checking workshops (Spot the Difference, Make the Difference; True Ba? Real Tea Ba?; Call It Out: Cancelling Cancel Culture) and two regional conferences (Online and Active: Breaking Virtual Curses; In One Boat: How your vote matters) were discussed. All five tackle topics ranging from ethical journalism and responsible fact-checking to voter’s education and the dangers of cancel culture.
The lineup of presenters are as follows: Arlin Salonga, Mia Grace Malit, Michelle Valdevieso, Ma. Charlenmagne Miclat, Jaymielle Fetalvero, Riniella Charise Ocampo, Marienel Calma, Christian Domingo, Dominic Roi Gepte, Nicole Faith Lapuz, Dhessiel Archie Macapagal, Liana Canilao, Aryanna David, and Felicity Trapal.