Lawmaker bats for media literacy vs ‘fake news’

Bandera (Mindanao) - - FRONT PAGE -

KABATAAN party-list Rep. Sarah Elago is preparing to file a bill that would provide for critical media literacy in a bid to combat the proliferation of “fake news” in the country.

Elago revealed about her plan in the wake of a recent Social-Weather Stations (SWS) sur vey, which showed that 67 percent of adult Filipinos believe fake news in the Internet is a serious problem.

The militant lawmaker stressed that fake news has long been a problem in the Philippines, and the increasing prevalence of online trolls and mechanisms to spread false information only made fake news more apparent.

“The Duterte administration has mastered the ability to ‘spin’ news and more pressing social issues into ’entertainment’ to distract the public from its sheer incompetence and tyrannical schemes,” Elago said.

“Media literacy is not usually provided as a subject in schools. And if there is one, the curriculum treats an individual as a passive receiver of information given by media, obviously ignoring the role of an individual as a contributor to media, especially online,” she added.

Also amid the latest SWS survey, Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate urged the House leadership to approve the Freedom of Information (FOI) bill, which has been “languishing in Congress.”

Meanwhile, Akbayan Rep. Tom Villarin viewed the SWS survey results as a “wake up call to all our institutions involved in forming and disseminating information.”

Villarin said “something must be done by way of policy and discourse for the truth” and for people to “reclaim public space for truth nothing less.”

“The Goebbe ls mantra of repeating lies often enough can be passed on as truths is still highly relevant and used extensively by government or people with ulterior motives other than the truth,” he said.

Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat has likewise called on Filipinos to realize that “proliferation and promotion of fake news evolved out of a propaganda machine designed to harass and destroy the reputation of opposition figures and those who voice dissent.”

“Ngayong panahon lang naman talagang lumaganap ang fake news at lumala ang disinformation in social media. It’s symptomatic of an increasingly fractured society where expressions of opinion are branded as either DDS or Dilawan,” he added.

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