The day after: thoughts on the Senate Hearing on Fake News (Part 2)

By Noemi Lardizabal-Dado and Jane T. Uymatiao

Part 1 of this article focused on four (4) particular points from the Senate hearing on fake news. Part 2 is a sharing by Noemi and Jane of best practices for their respective blogs. Read till the end where you will find a link to an ongoing teachout on fake news you can enroll in for FREE.

Senator Vicente C. Sotto III throws a punch against fake news blogger and the people behind it by saying “if you will accuse me of crimes that I did not commit, I will hunt you down” during the hearing of Committee on Public Information and Mass Media chaired by Senator Grace Poe. On the right side Mr. Rey Joseph Nieto of “Thinking Pinoy” discloses names and group behind the fake blogs. (photo By Ramon A. Lopez)

 

Noemi: Bloggers are, like it or not, part of the world at large. They are not immune from political and societal forces. Neither are they exempt from the norms which govern ordinary human relations. Shouldn’t bloggers abide by the same high standards to which they hold others?  You are who you appear to be. Bloggers should do their best to rely on accountable sources. If those sources were/are not accurate, admit it. Disagree without being disagreeable. I believe in always staying on the higher ground without resulting to name calling. If it is incendiary, don’t post it. Respect the privacy of the people you write about especially their personal information. Just because personal information is in the public domain, there is no implication much less a grant of consent to process such publicly available data.

Though I believe in dissenting views, I enforce a commentary policy where “I reserve the right to remove comments, words or phrases that are defamatory, abusive, incite hatred and advertise an email address or commercial services or just plain spammy. I also reserve the right to remove posts that to my opinion are off-topic, irrelevant, ad-hominem, personal attacks and or just plain rude.”

Lastly , educate your readers to be discerning of fake news , misinformation or disinformation.

 

Jane:Speak truth. Do no harm to others. Strive to educate and inform. Write freely but courteously. Be open to feedback, positive and negative. Engage in discourse politely, knowing you can’t please everyone. Be willing to rectify anything on your blog shown to be incorrect and issue an apology, if warranted. And agree to disagree, more so when friends hold a different view from you. These are some of the principles I keep in mind when blogging.

 

In addition, my blogs have a page containing my disclosure and privacy policies. I try to review these from time to time to update them. I never imagined it would be necessary but in light of recent events, I may have to implement a commenting policy, like Noemi did, to keep my blogs clean with comments relevant to the topics. This is not just for me but also for less distraction and more productive engagement with readers.

Noemi and Jane have always asserted that they are not journalists. However, it pays to learn more about good and responsible journalism, no matter what subject matter you write about. Over the years, we have both taken massive open online courses (MOOC) on Coursera, including “Citizen Engagement” offered by the World Bank and “Journalism for Engaged Citizens” offered by the University of Melbourne.

Currently, we are both taking a Coursera teachout, “Fake News, Facts, and Alternative Facts” by the University of Michigan . We encourage you to take it as well to improve your skills in telling fake news apart from real news.

 

It will take all of us to keep fake news at bay. The more we know about spotting them, the lesser the chances of being taken in by them.

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