Fight disinformation, 'reckless' exercise of free speech: Filipino historians

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Philippine presidential candidate Ferdinand
Philippine presidential candidate Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr., son of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, greets his supporters at his headquarters in Mandaluyong City, Metro Manila, Philippines, May 11, 2022. According to a report by Bloomberg, the lead-up to Bongbong’s win was influenced by a formidable social media machine, one that perpetuated disinformation and sought to sanitize the autocratic rule of his father. REUTERS/Lisa Marie David

One of the country's best known professional historian groups has urged fellow practitioners of history to help combat disinformation and the “reckless” exercise of free speech through scholarly discourse, according to Inquirer.

Philippine Historical Association (PHA) Dr. Ma. Luisa Camagay said on Sunday (May 22) that there had been a “toxic mixture” of disinformation with established historical facts. She called on other historians and the public to be vigilant in this regard, even as PHA pledged to advocate critical thinking by advancing public history and denouncing historical distortion and denial.

“Such distortion of the historical narrative, particularly when made for partisan ends, impinges on society’s moral fabric and cultural identity. This made Filipinos turn against each other and permit what was once intolerable,” added the professor emeritus at the University of the Philippines Diliman in a video statement.

Camagay added that conferences, fora, multimedia, and scholarly works in academic and public spaces are needed to deal with the “steady rise” of disinformation campaigns, especially on social media.

PHA was founded on September 18, 1955, by a group of well-known historians in Manila, including Encarnacion Alzona, Gabriel Fabella and Gregorio Zaide.

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