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Asian journos unite vs fake news

Asian journos unite vs fake news

COMMUNICATING HOPE AND TRUST IN OUR TIME. The delegates, guests, and organizers of the SIGNIS Asia Journalists’ Roundtable held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia from March 10 to 11, 2017. PERRY PAUL LAMANILAO

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – Journalists from 13 different countries in Asia have gathered from March 10 to 11 to discuss how to address hoaxes and fake news online.

SIGNIS, also known as the World Catholic Association for Communication, convened 20 journalists and media practitioners from 13 different countries in Asia for a roundtable organized by SIGNIS Malaysia at the Council of Churches of Malaysia (CCM) in Petaling Jaya, Selangor from March 10 to 11, 2017.

With the theme “Communicating Trust and Hope in our Time,” the SIGNIS Asia Journalists’ Roundtable aimed to explore ways how Christian communicators can address the spread of fake news online and discuss how the Church can communicate hope, love, and peace in the world today.

The Church vs fake news

To address this, Archbishop Julian Leow Beng Kim of the Archdiocese of Kuala Lumpur challenged media practitioners to be truthful and honest in writing news and telling stories.

“I know it’s difficult to be journalist. It’s an oxymoron sometimes to be an honest politician or to be a journalist that writes the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth,” said the prelate.

He said truth has different shapes, depending on whom a journalist works for.

“But by the end of the day, I think, just to say that, you be the message. You be the message yourself – your lifestyle, your values, the person that you are. I think that speaks volumes. You can write anything your bosses ask you to write or you can resign because you don’t want to write what your bosses ask you to write. The decision is yours to be a person of integrity and believe if you are an honest, if you put the truth, if you put your faith before you – opportunities will be there,” he added.

“Are you a Catholic who happens to be a journalist? Or are you a journalist who happens to be a Catholic?” the archbishop challenged the participants.

Telling their stories

Communication experts from all over Asia like Augustive Anthuvan, a senior TV journalist, trainer, and media literacy facilitator were also invited to discuss different perspectives and challenges.

Discussing the power of collaboration, he shared about some of his best practices as a journalist, encouraging fellow media practitioners to collaborate with other news agencies, media outlets, and other organizations around the world to produce multi-media content.

Allan John, former deputy editor of The Strait Times and now a consulting editor at the Institute of Policy Studies – National University of Singapore (NUS), discussed the challenges of fake news and “post truth.”

Terence Fernandez, a media and perception management consultant, discussed investigative reporting – the threats, challenges, and difficulties experienced by the journalists and media practitioners in Asia.

Start small, aim big

According to Dr. Jim McDonnell who serves as the head of the Department for Representation in SIGNIS, the newly-formed journalism desk in Brussels, Belgium aims to promote ethical professional journalism. The journalism desk will support and coordinate different programs and projects initiated by church journalists and media practitioners at the international level.

“When we were planning the meet, we really were not sure how many lay Catholic secular journalist will attend. Our target was clear – to reach out to individuals [like you] who are in the thick and thin of creating tomorrow’s headlines in small and big ways in your community,” said Lawrence “Eljay” John, SIGNIS vice president.

“Our goal in SIGNIS is simple – as a Catholic, bring together a small [group of] like-minded media practitioners to serve for the common good,” he added.

Apostolic Nuncio to Malaysia Archbishop Joseph Salvador Marino also graced the said event. CBCPNews

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