HomeNewsCatholic communicators urged to be more ‘proactive’ in fight vs disinformation

Catholic communicators urged to be more ‘proactive’ in fight vs disinformation

“We can’t just do fact-checking and just disprove lies and call out the liar," said Monsignor Pedro Quitorio

Philippine Catholic communicators should be more “creative and proactive” in using social media to fight the spread of disinformation.

“The Church has to organize all its resources to reach more people and come up with more creative contents to disseminate accurate and true information,” said Father Roy Bellen, communication’s director of the Archdiocese of Manila.

The priest made the comment in the wake of reports that disinformation dominated and influenced the conduct of last month’s national elections in the country.

Father Bellen said that more than the communication platforms, which have become available for all, “it is really the content, its quality, and packaging that [Church communicators] should focus more.”

He said any tool, such as social media, that can be used to connect people is “God-given,” although he warned that it may be abused.

“It is not the tools or means of communication themselves that is the cause of trouble, but the users,” said the priest.

Monsignor Pedro Quitorio, director of the media office of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, said the government must look into regulations to see abuses on social media.

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“Regulating the apps is on the social media companies,” said Msgr. Quitorio. “They have to regulate themselves, but the government should be in constant negotiation with them,” he said.

On the part of the Catholic Church, Msgr. Quitorio said they are taking disinformation seriously. “We are working on something against disinformation and we will present it to Church leaders,” he said.

He said the Church has always been on social media “to rally for the common good,” but admitted that they have to think of more proactive ways.

“We can’t just do fact-checking and just disprove lies and call out the liar. We can’t be reactive at this point, we have to be proactive,” said the priest.

The Philippine Senate last week approved a report on its investigation into social media platforms, holding companies such as Facebook, YouTube, and TikTok accountable for disinformation that would appear on their sites.

The report said that to discourage inaction by the social media platforms, “malice should be presumed … if the libelous comment is made by a fake or fictitious person and such platform fails to take down the libelous content within a reasonable time.”

A 2021 digital report by marketing firm We Are Social shows that 89 million Filipinos out of the that country’s 110.3 million are active on social media.

The Philippines holds the record of having the highest social media usage in the world with an average of four hours and 14 minutes daily.

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