Brazil fight­ing fake news in the class­room

New Straits Times - - WORLD -

SAO PAULO: Brazil has taken a stand against the ex­plo­sion of “fake news” sto­ries swamp­ing the In­ter­net by mak­ing me­dia anal­y­sis stud­ies com­pul­sory for school­child­ren.

“The aim is to teach stu­dents to iden­tify fake news, and now it’s part of the na­tional cur­ricu­lum be­cause the coun­try has de­cided it’s nec­es­sary,” said Le­an­dro Beguoci, ed­i­to­rial di­rec­tor at Brazil­ian ed­u­ca­tion spe­cial­ists Nova Es­cola.

Me­dia anal­y­sis stud­ies be­came com­pul­sory in De­cem­ber last year, but have been of­fered along­side tra­di­tional sub­jects for years in some schools.

Kayo Ro­drigues, 14, said the press was not per­fect, but played a vi­tal role in com­bat­ing fake news. She en­rolled in the “Young Press” pro­gramme launched six years ago in the Casa Blanca pub­lic school here.

At Casa Blanca, teach­ers Lu­ci­lene Varan­das and Hilde­nor Gomes do San­tos en­sured their stu­dents, aged 8 to 14, know not to take every­thing at face value.

“When I re­ceive a piece of in­for­ma­tion, I look for it on the In­ter­net and ask my­self if it’s true,” said pupil He­lena Vi­tal, 11.

“Now I know that things aren’t so bad, the whole coun­try isn’t go­ing to col­lapse,” she added.

Such me­dia anal­y­sis stud­ies would not nec­es­sar­ily cre­ate a new gen­er­a­tion of wannabe re­porters, though.

Vi­tal, for one, was sus­pi­cious about the press that “is some­times flawed in its cred­i­bil­ity”.

Asked if she would like to one day be­come a jour­nal­ist, Vi­tal said: “I pre­fer swim­ming!”

AFP PIC

A pupil at­tend­ing a les­son on fake news at a school in Sao Paulo, Brazil, re­cently.

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