Manila-based NGO tackles fake news, cyberbullying
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Manila-based NGO tackles fake news, cyberbullying

The Communication Foundation for Asia (CFA), a WACC partner, held a forum and talkathon on fake news, cyberbullying and other issues affecting social media April 10 in Sta. Mesa, Manila.

The project, undertaken with support from WACC, was aimed at “developing a model for youth to develop critical thinking skills about media issues.”

Project organizers highlighted the importance of media literacy saying “the issue of digitally-enabled misinformation and disinformation has grown significantly in the Philippines.”

There is “a widespread sense that digital communication platforms are being misused and ‘weaponized’ to advance the interests of some sectors of society,” at the expense of the needs of the most vulnerable, they said.

Young people constitute the highest percentage of social media users and “should be placed at the centre of the discussion about addressing misinformation and disinformation online,” they added.

For the third year in a row, the Philippines topped a global internet usage index averaging almost four hours online each day. Filipino youth are also the most vulnerable to cyber risks and “unhealthy habits of digital usage,” according to a study by DQ Institute, an international think thank formed by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Yvonne Chua, a journalist/educator and co-founder of online news media Vera Files, spoke about Fake News, while Dr. Camille Mutya Caces-Garcia, a psychologist and CEO of the Clinic of the Holy Spirit, discussed the root cause and effects of cyber bullying.

A talkathon on Chatroom Sessions included the following panelists: Prof. Josephine A. Placido from the University of Sto. Tomas’ College of Sociology, Cris Jason Santos, filmmaker, creative designer and radio DJ, and Fernando Carandang, Jr., clinical psychologist.

The forum/ talkathon was the first in a series of seminars designed to raise awareness about social media issues and to develop a “code of conduct” for online communication in the Philippines.

The CFA is non-profit organization with Catholic roots that was established in the 1960s. It is “focused on media production and training for the spiritual upliftment and empowerment of people,” according to its website.

Over the years, it has trained thousands of teachers, faith leaders, community activists and development workers in communication for social change and popular education. It has produced radio dramas, documentaries, and other media products to help strengthen community development and social change processes.



Photo above: Yvonne Chua, journalist/educator and co-founder of Vera Files, discusses the issue of “fake news.” By CFA 

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