Campaign launched to protect youth vs fake news

Helen Flores - The Philippine Star
Campaign launched to protect youth vs fake news
President Marcos leads the launch of the government’s media and information literacy campaign at the Hilton Manila in Pasay City yesterday. With him were officials of the Presidential Communications Office, Department of the Interior and Local Government, Department of Education, Commission on Higher Education, Deparment of Social Welfare and Development, Google Philippines head of government affairs and public policy Yves Gonzales, Meta Philippines head of public policy Clare Amador and TikTok Philippines head of public policy Toff Rada.
Krizjohn Rosales

MANILA, Philippines — As Filipinos have become more dependent on the internet, President Marcos has launched a campaign aimed at giving the public – especially the young generation – greater protection against misinformation or fake news.

Through the Media and Information Literacy Campaign Project spearheaded by the Presidential Communications Office (PCO), Marcos said Filipinos would be able to discern truth from falsehood.

“We also direct our attention to young people because they are the most involved, they are the ones who consider being online, working on the internet as part of their life. It’s like breathing to young people,” the President said yesterday during the project launch at the Hilton Manila in Pasay City.

“Maybe it’s time that we give our kids – not only our kids, our citizenry – the tools for them to be able to tell what is important, what is not, what is relevant, what are the sources of these information coming from,” he said.

Marcos also emphasized the need to fight misinformation amid technological advancements, citing in particular the emergence of artificial intelligence or AI.

“With the advent of AI, we can see that the tools that are available are becoming more and more powerful… But it is also disconcerting for us when we are confronted by pure AI… that is something that we have to learn how to deal with,” the Chief Executive said.

PCO Secretary Cheloy Garafil said false narratives and fake news have the power to mislead, divide and cause harm or damage. She said children are the most exposed to the digital landscape and its dangers.

“With our education sector equally dedicated to this cause, our campaign intends to introduce these efforts to the school curriculum to ensure that every student in the country is equipped to fight fake news,” she said in her speech during the launch.

The PCO, she said, would be working with the Department of Education, Commission on Higher Education, Department of Social Welfare and Development and the Department of the Interior and Local Government in the implementation of the program.

To ensure wider audience for the media and information literacy campaign, the PCO has also partnered with Meta, Google, TikTok and X (formerly Twitter).

“Their support strengthens our causes… Our formidable alliance is committed to ensuring that truth and accuracy prevail in a society where every voice contributes to the chorus of truth,” she said.

In his message, DSWD Undersecretary Edu Punay said he witnessed firsthand how the poor and vulnerable sector fell prey to fake news.

“Just last January, hundreds of senior citizens flocked to our offices for a supposed payout of social pension grant that apparently was not scheduled. It turned out that the sources were a Facebook post from a fake DSWD account and an SMS text blasted across a nearby barangay,” he said.

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