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PIA 02 chief speaks against fake news, promotes responsible social media use

TUGUEGARAO CITY, Philippines- “It is now up for us, therefore, to discern what is true, what is false and what is concocted.”

This was the message of Philippine Information Agency Region o2 Director Purita Licas as she spoke with officers of Police Regional Office 02 (PRO2) on Monday’s flag raising ceremony, February 12.

As guest speaker, Licas urged the valley cops to combat also the spread of fake news on social media, and cautioned the police of the threat that fake news holds.

“Let us not allow, therefore, the cultivation of the culture of lying. As state workers, we should lead in the promotion of responsible use of social media to prevent the negative impacts of fake news spread so easily,” Licas said in her speech.

Licas described fake news as a type of  “yellow journalism or propaganda that consists of deliberate misinformation or hoaxes,” adding that this spreads “confusion and deception among Filipinos and those of the rest of the world.”

She said, with fast and easy sharing of information on social media, misinformation, disinformation, and distortion of truth and fabrication of “facts” have become major problems of online media users. This has also become a danger for the youth, she said.

The PIA regional director said the spread of fake news has contributed to the “diminishing quality of journalism in the mainstream media,” adding that efforts to professionalize the industry and make it competitive with other emerging online media have become difficult.

She also hit “mediocre media practitioners” who, she said, do not realize media’s role in community development and nation-building.

Meanwhile, Licas told the valley cops, as public servants, not to help stop proliferation of fake news in the country.

Licas also said the PIA, being the communications arm of the government, has a “crucial role” in combating fake news. “We recognize the fact that fake news is something that must be addressed through the converged efforts of various government agencies and offices, the Philippine National Police and other law enforcement authorities included,” she said.

“Ang PIA, sampu ng ibat’ ibang ahensiya ng gobyerno ay dapat magsilbing tanglaw ng responsableng pamamahayag upang matiyak natin na ang sambayanan ay di malilinlang o maililigaw ng mga grupo or organisasyong nagnanais na maghasik ng kalituhan,” Licas said.

“We recognize the negative influence of fake news, therefore, in the schools and other institutions that all these play a crucial role in instilling due diligence, discernment and critical thinking in the minds of the minors. But more importantly, education and campaign against fake news must start in our homes,” she added. Northernforum.net

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