A Jesuit priest, one of the speakers in the 4th National Media Conference (NMC 2018) in Mergrande Ocean Resort Davao on August 7, 2018, advocates the search for Truth–Jesus Christ–and creating a culture of encounter as the remedy to the prevalence of fake news in the Country.
“There’s an area where fake news actually thrive because of the attention economy,” explained Jesuit Communication’s Rev. Fr. Jessel Gerald “Jboy”
Gonzales, SJ to the assembly of Catholic Communicators from various Dioceses and religious organizations.
“How to address this? Our pursuit of finding the Truth is finding Jesus in our every day lives,” he revealed.
He also cited Pope Francis who said that, “the best antidote to falsehood are not strategies but people.”
“Are we encountering people or are we in the editing room?” He pointed out. “Are you ready to listen or being listened to yourself?”
The first plenary talk of the event, he discussed about Fake News through the theme “Mag-ilhanay ta, bai! (Let Us Know Each Other)”. He cited the reality of the subject, its different forms in society today, and the circumstances that entice its promulgation, such as the attractiveness of vulgarity due to the economic divide in education.
“Why is it that vulgarity is very attractive?” He raised, adding, “There is a divide. So if you use crass language, which is very attractive, it persuays the Masa, but it sets aside the Church.”
According to Fr. Gonzales, the Filipino’s attraction towards gossip–called twisted truth–and blowing up issues–called gas lighting–are but some of the factors that not only breed fake news but also create the economy of trolls locally.
He said trolls have been “previously bullied” and “are, in reality, the ones actually ostracized”. Thus, “they use offensive speech” in their dealings online.
Nowadays, he said, “The one who is not an expert can make fake news…hindi mahalaga kung totoo ang balitang shinare nila, ang mahalaga ay nagtrending sila.”
“Ang labanan ngayon ay hindi sino ang may truth kungdi sino ang credible and who has integrity,” he stressed. “If you want to fight the truth, ang labanan nasa cyberspace.”
He then reminded the assembly to be know what technology to use, to ” post what builds than what destroys”, to be “ready to accept criticism and correction from people” and even to “to be hurt” out of the need “to engage and encounter”.
“We want to be truthful and not ambigious,” he highlighted, “Journalists provide information, they are the protector of news,”
“If we are in Media, we realize we are in the ministry of healing,” he ended.
Renowned for JesCom’s YouTube Daily Reflections entitled “Kape’t Pandasal”, Fr. Gonzales is currently the Assistant Director for Formation of the Senior High School at Ateneo de Davao University and the Assistant Secretar of the Philippine Province of the Society of Jesus.
The 4th National Media Convention was spearheaded by the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines Episcopal Commission on Social Communications (CBCP ECSC) in line with the theme of the 52nd World Communications Day Message of Pope Francis, “The Truth Will Set You Free (Jn 8:32). Fake News & Journalism For Peace.” (~Minnie Agdeppa)