Pause Before You Post, Urged Presidential Adviser

Mr. Sonny Mendoza from the Office of the Presidential Peace Adviser represented Sec. Jesus Dureza for this talk during the 4th National Media Convention held in Davao’s Mergrande Resort last August 7, 2018. (Photo credit: Angelica Abagao)

A government official urged the need to reflect on the possible effects of what one will share in Social Media prior to posting it in a gathering of Catholic communicators in Davao City’s Mergrande Resort last August 7, 2018.

“But before making a post or filing our stories, we can perhaps ask ourselves these questions,” began Mr. Sony Mendoza who read the message of Presidential Peace Adviser Sec. Jesus Dureza in his absence during the 4th National Media Convention last month.

“How will this post or story impact on the work that I do? How will this affect my relations with friends, colleagues, and other partners? What good will it do me and the organization I represent? Will this post or story create animosity and distrust or will it provide enlightenment and unite people despite their divergent views?” Mendoza read.

In his message prepared for the talk entitled, “Ayos ni, bai! (Affirmative Journalism)”, Sec. Dureza cited that nowadays one is often faced with voluminous information that “we are free to access and weild as we please”. He advised it best to identify how to use one’s online network and to identify it’s purpose in our lives and others.

“As communicators in the age of Social Media we must weild information using our moral compass,” he stressed.

Dureza shared his life as a journalist and as pioneer of the Davao Verbum Dei Foundation, one of the media arms of the Archdiocese of Davao. He affirmed the fast changing technology in terms of Research. He compared it in his time when there was difficulty since one has to go to the library to spend hours versus today where one only needs to go to “Google” and “Presto” or other internet platforms through high technology gadgets.

“Social Media has become so toxic that almost everything that we post online even with the noblest intentions elicit a negative reaction,” he stated.

He cited that bashing and trolls “have become so pervasive online”. He also discussed the ease of creating different accounts in Social Media to have many followers with the intention of promoting information, which could either be a fact that is used “to rally people behind our advocacies” or “to discredit the reputation of other organizations and draw a people away from their cause”.

Professing the truth, he underlined, can combat these challenges.

“We must learn to practice affirmative journalism,” he revealed. “As communicators of the Catholic Faith, we must look upon ourselves as vanguards of truth and justice…Truth and accuracy in reporting must never be sacrificed in pursuit of beating the deadline or getting the scoop.”
“May all of us weild our pens to help promote the culture of peace, cooperation, and solidarity among our fellow Filipinos,” finished Mendoza on the last lines of Dureza’s message.

The 4th National Media Convention (NMC) is an annual gathering of Catholic communicators from various Dioceses and religious organizations in the Philippines. Spearheaded by the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines Episcopal Commission on Social Communications (CBCP ECSC), the event focused on the theme of the 52nd World Communications Day Message of His Holiness Pope Francis,”The Truth Will Set You Free (Jn 8:32), Fake News & Journalism For Peace”. (~John Martin Tito De Guzman)