We have surpassed the “fake news era” especially in the social media realm. As we recall, the issue started in 2017 upon the appointment of Mocha Uson as Presidential Communications Operations Officer (PCOO) under President Rodrigo Duterte’s Governance.
While it is good that we have developed the right thinking to battle the “bad,” a new enemy has sprung: wrong information.
FAKE VS. WRONG
Distinguishing the two, fake information or ‘disinformation’ are those that are created to deliberately deceive readers. Wrong information or ‘misinformation’, on the other hand, is in the same category as fake information but is unintentional; and unlike fake information, it can have factual basis.
In light of the 30th SEA Games mishaps, for instance, one of the things that received much attention from netizens is a photo showing the misuse of the country’s national flag.
After receiving harsh comments and criticisms online, reports clarified that the information was wrong as it did not happen during the SEA Games proper, but rather in a different event.
There were also reports circulating the internet that stated that the organizers fed Muslim athletes with port despite the common knowledge of their belief system and religious practices. Although it has enraged the netizens, it was later clarified that the information was misleading.
These issues and this kind of reporting, in particular, did not sit well with Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (PHISGOC) Chairman Senator Alan Peter Cayetano; thus, not only calling out journalists for being the “purveyors of fake news” throughout the event but also accusing the media of being a willing victim to bribery.
“Even some media outfits admitted that there is overflowing cash to destroy SEAG. I don’t know (how much) because these were just told to me by close friends and they told me it’s good nobody accepted it since this is for the country,” Cayetano was quoted as saying in an Interaksyon report.
Journalists and journalistic groups such as the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines (FOCAP) and National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) retaliated to his allegations.
“Such sweeping accusations, without a shred of evidence and laced with threats of libel suits, are totally unacceptable and tend to intimidate journalists from reporting irregularities objectively. Independent journalists report problems and issues imbued the public interest as they happen and become evident and do not delay the time to press for accountability. We report defeats and victories, failures and triumphs,” FOCAP was quoted in the report.
“It becomes ridiculously unacceptable when the officials responsible for the disaster resort to bashing media as well, as if the reports on their shortcomings were to blame for the disaster,” NUJP stated in the same report.
As media personnel and as people who have access to media, whether it be online or offline, it is still important to fact check, cross-check, and verify the information being served so as not to be a victim of blind following. Moreover, it is also important to develop critical thinking to know which news is acceptable and which news is not.
At this day and age, we cannot afford to have a community that is blinded by the truth, especially when it comes to the consumption of information.