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MANILA, Philippines – Representatives of Iloilo City organizations and a media group suggested bringing fact-checking initiatives to the provinces during the #MoveIloilo: Social Good in the Digital Age forum.
More than 170 students and citizens attended the forum at PHINMA University of Iloilo last Monday, April 29, to learn about fact-checking.
Kabataan party regional coordinator Rea Guiloreza pointed out how most fact-checking initiatives are centered in Metro Manila, neglecting provinces which may be struggling with disinformation as well.
“Ramdam mo naman na ‘yung media is taking a stand on combating this issue on fake news, pero I think it’s time for media to get out of Imperial Manila, and take into account the fake news na kumakalat sa countryside,” she said.
(You can sense that media is taking a stand on combating this issue on fake news, but I think it’s time for media to get out of Imperial Manila, and take into account the fake news spreading in the countryside.)
Guiloreza emphasized how there needs to be localized efforts to fight disinformation, which could be led by media groups and schools.
“Walang efforts to combat the local fake news kasi lahat na lang ‘yung nasa central government na fake news ‘yung nata-tackle…. I think it’s a challenge na schools, journalism organizations, they could try to establish a localized na fake news mechanism,” she said.
(There are no efforts to combat local fake news because they’re all tackling fake news from the central government…. I think it’s a challenge for schools, journalism organizations, they could try to establish a localized fake news mechanism.)
Disinformation in Iloilo City
According to Francis Allan Angelo, the editor-in-chief of the Daily Guardian, disinformation in Iloilo City can be especially seen in radio blocktime programs, especially during elections. (READ: ‘Fake news’ should be considered form of election fraud, says watchdog)
“Mostly disinformation comes out of radio blocktime programs. These are people hired to speak for certain candidates. Very prevalent on the radio, not on TV or in newspapers. Usually the black propaganda, disinformation come out of these programs,” he said in a mix of English and Filipino.
Angelo said these radio programs tend to allot a certain hour, where people are hired to speak for or against a certain candidate to sway voters. He added that sentiments shared during these programs are then echoed or amplified on social media.
Angelo mentioned how many Ilonggos rely on radio for their news, worsening the impact of disinformation.
“Radio is very prevalent here because of its wider reach, especially in the countryside…. They start talking about politicians. Black propaganda [gets out] and it gets magnified on social media,” he said.
Even on social media, Guiloreza shared that people refer to the Facebook pages of radio programs in Iloilo City for local news since most TV networks and newspapers report on national news.
“Ang pinakamabilis na access on social media for local news is from the pages of those news stations. So dalawa ang reach niya: both on the radio waves and on social media. Malakas talaga ang radio stations dito kaya ganoon siya ka-powerful sa Iloilo and Western Visayas,” said Guiloreza.
(The fastest access on social media for local news is from the pages of those news stations. So they have two means of reaching their audience: both on radio and on social media. Radio stations here are very strong. That’s why they’re that powerful in Iloilo and Western Visayas.)
Dakila Iloilo Collective executive director Kenneth Gadian also highlighted that many Ilonggos prefer radio stations over other platforms.
“One reason why Ilonggos are attached to radio stations as their source of information and to [their] Facebook pages – I think it’s economic because most areas in the province have only radio as their source of information, and also free data…so they just rely on Facebook pages and captions,” he said.
To combat false information being spread in Iloilo City, Angelo shared that the Daily Guardian is planning to conduct fact-checking training in partnership with the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism.
Aside from fact-checking initiatives for media and interested organizations, Guiloreza pointed out that ordinary citizens also play a major role in stopping the spread of disinformation.
“I think ‘yung fake news phenomenon, it’s not only in the Philippines but it’s an issue worldwide. We should be critical of everything around us, kahit sa legitimate na news organizations. We should stay critical kasi sila nagkakamali din,” she said.
(The fake news phenomenon, it’s not only in the Philippines but it’s an issue worldwide. We should be critical of everything around us, even legitimate news organizations. We should stay critical because they also make mistakes.)
People can also take part in the fight against disinformation by calling out news organizations if they put out misleading or inaccurate reports.
“Since [the] currency [of] media is credibility and credibility comes from the belief of the listeners or the consumers and users of news, the consumers themselves should also call out media outlets if there’s something wrong in our reporting,” Angelo said. – Rappler.com