Experts from the media industry, educators and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) officials from all over the Philippines, joined the launching of Media Civics Lab’s comprehensive online training on media literacy and awareness via Facebook Live.

Break the Fake Movement, in partnership with the U.S. Embassy in the Philippines, created Media Civics Lab to provide media and information literacy training to emerging leaders across the country. Through the program, participants will develop their skills and knowledge in responsible digital citizenship and be advocates of critical thinking and media awareness in their communities. The program will run until December and include series of virtual intensive training on responsible digital citizenship, media literacy and awareness, fake news and disinformation, positive participation, and project proposal writing and management. 

Break the Fake Movement Chief Organizer Gabriel Billones Jr. said “We believe that there is a lot of potential with the Philippine youth in terms of creating more game-changing solutions and mainstreaming the conversation of media awareness”

Gab Billones, Break the Fake Founder
Gab Billones, Break the Fake Founder

The launch event, hosted by Quarantalk Media Founder Jules Guiang, featured a virtual discussion on responsible digital citizenship and important role youth plays in fighting disinformation. 

U.S. Embassy Spokesperson Heather Fabrikant delivered the opening remarks and commented that “an educated population with a high degree of media literacy is more challenging and costlier to target for anyone trying to manipulate it with disinformation.”

Speakers included public educator and tv host Richard Heydarian, Asia’s top debater and expert on gender issues Sharmila Parmanand, CEO of Puma Podcast Publications Roby Alampay, Association of Young Environmental Journalists (AYEJ) founder Val Vestil, GMA Head of Social Media Justin Joyas, and Lawyer and Writer Melanie Pinlac.  

“The MIT study shows that fake news travels six times faster than non-fake news. With this kind of physics of information dissemination, its immensely important that we get these basics (of media literacy) right” Richard Heydarian said.

“Digital citizenship is being critical in three ways. The first is being a critical producer of information. Second is being a critical consumer of information and the third is being a critical distributor of information. These responsibilities of production, consumption and distribution. These are no longer obligated to media outlets alone, but also to us users of social media” Val Vestil added.

More than 2,000 viewed the livestream of the program and provided positive responses on the program – showing eagerness of many to learn about media and information literacy and help promote responsible digital citizenship. In the fight against the disinformation pandemic, there’s hope after all—for a vaccine to arrive.

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