World basketball legend Michael Jordan donated 1 million dollars to a college in Atlanta to promote journalism and sports-related courses. What a timely gesture on the part of the sports hero. In this age of fake news and social media, we need journalism, genuine journalism, more than ever.
The best news is, the Bohol International Learning College (BILC) at De la Paz, Cortes, will soon open its College of Arts and Sciences with three new courses, namely, Journalism, Communications and the English language. Today, it is still focused on its College of Social Work which is the fourth best school in the country in terms of passing percentage for Social Work Licensure Examinations.
But the urgent need for journalism could not be overemphasized. Even the forthcoming election is proving to be a major arena of the fight between true journalism on the one hand, and fake news, brainwashing, and propaganda on the other. If you only depend on social media, particularly Facebook and Twitter, or even Youtube, for your source of information, most likely, you will be victimized with misinformation.
Only newspapers, radio, and television are subject to the rigorous ethics of journalism. You cannot write or broadcast without clear sources. If people complain against your article or program, you are obliged to give them space to air their grievances. You can protect your sources, but you must strive to get the other side of the story.
There are no such rules in social media. It’s a wild wild country out there in the Internet. To each his own version of issues and concocted stories. The only people who gain a lot of money out of this brouhaha are Mark Zuckerberg and the super-rich who keep getting richer at the expense of our privacy and harmonious relationships.
Imagine how many family members, neighbors, co-workers, classmates and erstwhile friends are already quarreling now because one side believes the biggest lie that the 20-year dictatorial reign of Marcos was a golden age in Philippine governance. Imagine how gullible our voters are that even if you show them Supreme Court decisions ordering the Marcoses to return the billions of dollars of government money that they stashed away, still they will not believe it. That’s the tantalizing power of social media.
Our people had been bombarded with these pro-Marcos lies since 2016, and as Hitler’s propagandist, Joseph Goebbels, once said, if you keep repeating the lie people will start to believe that it is true. Sadly, tragically, this is now happening. And the Dutertes and their minions are primarily responsible for this situation. Now, you want to reward them by voting them back into office with the Marcoses on top? Di ba labaw pa tas gahikog ana?
One solution to this very serious problem is to stick to genuine journalism. Keep the faith on newspapers, radio, and television. Yes, there are many paid hacks in these media, too. But you can call them, complain against them, take them to court if you must. In social media, there is no such recourse.
Let us promote, protect and uphold genuine journalism!