The SU College of Mass Communication hosted the ABS-CBN Bayan Mo iPatrol Mo workshop webinars on Election Reporting and Fact-checking last week via Zoom. The workshops were participated in by students and faculty members of the SU Senior High School and the Negros Oriental State University.
Bayan Mo iPatrol Mo is a citizen journalism platform of ABS-CBN which organizes voter empowerment and election-related reporting and monitoring seminars and workshops for the Filipino youth. The various BMPM activities strive to encourage young voters to actively participate in the elections and work to protect their ballot, with the hope that the information, values, and insights they acquire will be beneficial even long after the elections are over.
The first part of the two-day virtual workshop kick-started on April 1st, and revolved around Election Reporting. Rowena Paraan, BMPM Head, discussed the history of elections. “Pag aralan natin, balikan natin yung kasaysayan […] para tama yung conclusions natin, yung decisions natin [at] tama yung actions natin,” Paraan stated.
She also emphasized how journalists get a front row seat to witness how history evolves as they record pieces of it. Paraan also talked about election surveys, social media campaigning, and the anti-epal law which prohibits the attachment of a politician’s name, photo, logo, or signature on billboards of projects funded by people’s money.
Antonette Eduardo, Networking & Advocacy officer of the Legal Network for Truthful Elections, talked about Campaign Finance and Election Laws. She also discussed a variety of electoral issues, such as people’s right to vote, and the necessity of voting responsibly, and election propaganda. “If we want to have a better Philippines, a brighter Philippines, sa ating kamay po nakasalalay ang future ng ating bansa,” Eduardo said.
Meanwhile, Elizabeth Panelo, BMPM campaign and training officer, talked about publishing and content creation. Her presentation explored how journalists can maximize social media when reporting, by improving their discoverability on various social media applications.
The workshop also centered on fact-checking. Paraan defined the concepts of misinformation and disinformation, and explained their characteristics and distinctions. She also emphasized the importance of fact checking, particularly during the election season. “Yung fact checking of the 2022 election is now very important, kasi nakita natin how manipulation of information has become a tool in the election campaign, so mahalaga na ang skill ng fact checking – it’s not just knowing the tools but the behavior […], you automatically fact-check what you see online – should be inculcated.”
She also discussed about social media algorithms, the existence of troll networks, and state-sponsored disinformation.
Stephen Tiu, a junior MassCom student, expressed gratitude to the conduct of the workshop. “This webinar has really helped me understand why fact-checking is so important, especially with the election coming up. I’ve seen so many of my Facebook friends share spliced and biased content online, and I want to take advantage of this opportunity to protect myself and the people close to me from all of this negativity.”
Timothy Libres, a sophomore, said he believes that while disinformation and misinformation are huge concerns in the country, addressing them at the grassroots level could be the best approach to tackle them. “What I realize is that misinformation and disinformation have caused havoc in the society. Thus, it is important that we educate people, especially the grassroots sector, about this pressing issue considering that they are the easy prey of misinformation and disinformation.”
The workshops ran for about nine hours, and was participated by about 85 students and faculty members of SU and NORSU.
In December last year, BMPM and ABS-CBN News partnered with other universities and institutions across the country, including SU Masscom, to train them how to provide comprehensive coverage of the 2022 national elections. SU Masscom Dean Dr. Madeline Quiamco signed a manifesto outlining the joint action in providing hands-on training on election-related topics. (Sophia Garzon, SU MassCom)