JOURNALISTS SHOULD be more accurate and firm in reporting to counter fake news and attacks on media online, seasoned media practitioners told student writers in a forum held June 15.
Inday Varona, ABS-CBN News and Current Affairs contributing editor, said journalists should be more careful in reporting because their mistakes could be used by the public against them.
“In social media, our (journalists) mistakes will live forever. Kahit maghabol ka ng one hour after [at] mag-correct ka, naka-screencap na ‘yan sa sampung libong tao,” Varona said.
“You cannot come out from the responsibilities of truth-telling. […] ‘Di kailangang maging journalist para mag-verify at magkaroon ng ethics,” she added.
People tend to rely heavily on the information shared on their social networking sites, TV5 news anchor Ed Lingao said.
“With technology and social media, there is speed and availability of more information. However, people are now more opinionated than ever but they are not necessarily better informed. […] There are misinformation and misdirection. So much information, so little thinking,” he said.
Lingao also claimed that criticizing journalists has become a “favorite pastime” by some social media users nowadays.
In June 2016, then President-elect Rodrigo Duterte hit the media for being “rude” and “corrupt,” which Lingao said has amplified the “bashing” from netizens toward media. In return, media outlets such as GMA News and Public Affairs and Rappler initiated social media campaigns in which netizens were called for their behavior.
Duterte also criticized ABS-CBN for not airing his paid advertisements during the 2016 presidential campaign and accused the Philippine Daily Inquirer of publishing stories that attack him.
United States (US) Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim encouraged the students to be responsible in sharing information on social media to sustain the public’s trust on media.
“The advent of social media as a news platform has given new opportunities but also huge challenges and responsibilities,” Kim said. “The international social media has completely altered the media landscape. […] As future members of Philippine media, you have the task of informing the people while maintaining their trust.”
Vera File’s Avie Olarte, ABS-CBN’s Arlene Burgos and Che de los Reyes, Rappler’s Paterno Esmaquel, and freelance photojournalist Alanah Torralba also served as speakers in the event.
Campus journalists from the University of Santo Tomas, De La Salle University, University of the Philippines-Diliman, Adamson University, College of Saint Benilde, Far Eastern University, and Polytechnic University of the Philippines were among the participants in the forum.
The forum titled Campus Journalism Challenge: Truth-Telling in the Age of Social Media was held at the Ateneo de Manila University Leong Hall Auditorium and was organized by the Konrad Adenauer Asian Center for Journalism at Ateneo and the US Embassy in Manila, in cooperation with the Ateneo Communication Department, the Eugenio Lopez, Jr. Center for Millenium Communication, Ateneo Association of Communication Majors, Matanglawin, and the Guidon. F ANGELIQUE ANNE F. TORRES