Fighting fake news, trolls on social media

·2 min read

JOURNALISM’S battle against fake news and trolls might be harder in the next few years, say some veteran journalists.

In a virtual interactive discussion on Facebook Live by the news outlet The Freeman titled "What's in store for Philippine media?" on Tuesday, September 20, 2022, some established journalists expressed their worries about the ongoing "modernization" of news on social media platforms.

Meta-partisan news

Ed Lingao, an anchor of TV 5 and One News, expressed his concern over people patronizing and believing meta-partisan “news" over mainstream media.

The Philippine Media Monitoring Laboratory defines meta-partisan “news” as false content circulating on social media that has been advertised as "newsworthy" to look like news and to fuel disinformation.

Lingao cited a 2022 Reuters digital news report stating that, among Filipinos, trust in social media is 73 percent and online news is 88 percent, while trust in TV is 60 percent and print is 16 percent.

"With social media, we are now bypassed by the people. We have to get the public to see the value in the news and journalism process all over again," he said.

Media evolution and the emergence of fake news

Arnold Bustamante, the reelected president of the Cebu Federation of Beat Journalists (CFBJ), recounted his start in the radio industry here in Cebu in the late 2000s.

Bustamante, an anchor and reporter of dyHP of the Radio Mindanao Network, said the competition for accurate news and scoop in the media industry was tough back then.

By 2015, social media platforms, such as Facebook, among others, had started to gain popularity, he said.

Disseminating information got quicker, but determining facts became difficult with the emergence of fake news, he said.

Bustamante said defeating the spread of fake news has always been his advocacy as CFBJ president.

Propagandist’s long-time problem

Julius Mariveles, executive editor of DNX Digital News Exchange in Bacolod, said propagandists or "how siao" (fake) journalists emerged when democracy in the country was restored in 1986.

Mariveles said the problem stems from the journalists' failure to address the issue decisively, especially now that online platforms are trying to split the media.

"The role supposedly of journalism is to make us see the story about us, the stories about society, but what is happening right now in the online platform is it is a story about me. It is what's gaining prominence; no longer the news or what's happening in the society," he said.

"We (mainstream media) don't own editorial prerogative now at the age of social media," he added.

Jobert Ocao, the event host, closed the forum with a reminder to all media persons and future advocates to be vigilant and to continue promoting good reliable media ethics.

The activity was in line with the 30th year of the week-long Cebu Press Freedom celebration, which is being held between Sunday, September 18, and Saturday, September 24. (HIC)