A conference on how disinformation erodes democracy

Almost every day, from my place of work to my residence is almost three-hour energy-sappy travel, one way.

In those three hours, I witness scenes that re-affirm my admiration to the suffering Filipinos -- from the kilometer-long queues for a ride to the sardine-like situation in the MRT and many more.

In the three years of the country under Rodrigo Duterte, 27,000 have been reported killed in drug-related incidents, more than 4,000 of them during police operations, most of them small-time drug runners. None of the big-time suppliers have been arrested.

Until last week, when more than 300 Chinese vessels surrounded Philippine –occupied Pag-asa Island, the government didn’t complain about China’s aggressive activities in the disputed areas in South China Sea.

Every day we read about misgovernance, incompetence and mis-use of funds.

Yet, the Filipinos are satisfied with him as leader. Is it because of his public performance when he talked about his penis or when he related how he fingered their maid?

The Filipinos ‘satisfaction with Duterte is best reflected in the list of frontrunner in the senatorial race for the May 13 elections. In the Magdalo-conducted survey, eight candidates aligned with Duterte are in the Magic 12- Cynthia Villar, Bong Go, Pia Cayetano,Bong Revilla,Bato de la Rosa, Imee Marcos, Jinggoy Estrada and Sonny Angara.

Front runners Grace Poe and Nancy Binay can be classified as independents. Lito Lapid is expected to flow the Duterte group once he is returned to the Senate.

The only opposition in Magic 12 in the Magdalo survey is Bam Aquino. Mar Roxas is in number 13.

Nothing is final until the votes are counted. That’s why it is important that when Filipinos go to the polls on May 13, what they will cast is an informed vote and not based on lies and promises never meant to be fulfilled.

Election as a pillar of democracy is only as good as how informed is the people who use that right to elect their leaders.

A Filipino Consortium on Democracy and Information is holding its second national conference on April 22-23 at the University of the Philippines, BGC with the theme Disinformation and Democratic Decay: Why Deceptive Information Erodes Democratic Institutions.

It has lined up a powerhouse list of speakers led by Bishop Pablo “Ambo” David. This is a rare occasion that Bishop Ambo is speaking in public because he has been receiving death threats.

Former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales, who has become feistier when talking about honesty and integrity in public service now that she is a private citizen.

VERA Files will also be launching the DIY Handbook on Fact Checking at 5 p.m. on April 22.

The D&D consortium is a network of journalists, academics, bloggers and other independent individuals supported by the Ateneo de Manila University, De la Salle Philippines, and the University of the Philippines.

The Network includes members from ABS-CBN, Al-Jazeera, GMA, PDI, Rappler, Vera Files; the UP College of Mass Communication, the Department of Communication at De La Salle University, the Communication Department at Ateneo de Manila, and the Asian Institute of Journalism and Communication; Blogwatch, Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility, Citizen Safe, the Foundation for Media Alternatives, and [email protected]


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About Vera Files

Founded in March 2008, VERA Files is published by veteran Filipino journalists taking a deeper look into current Philippine issues. Vera is Latin for “true.”

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