December 23, 2016

STATEMENT OF THE FILIPINO AMERICAN PRESS CLUB OF NEW YORK ON PROLIFERATION OF FAKE NEWS



The Filipino American Press Club of New York (FAPCNY) strongly denounces the proliferation of ‘Fake News’ that appears in most social media. At the same time, we decry the practice of individuals and organizations that knowingly disseminate bogus information for the sake of muddling issues that are currently controversial.

As a community of reporters, photographers, bloggers, editors, marketing and advertising professionals, the FAPCNY adheres to information based entirely on 1) facts, 2) carefully researched documents, or 3) interviews with personalities who are witness or have knowledge or authority on an issue. Outright lies and hearsay have no place in newspapers, websites, videoblogs, podcasts, and radio/television or any vehicle where news is distributed. More important, reports masquerading as “news” have no place in a democratic society.

As journalists and media professionals, society has entrusted us with the responsibility of being the “gatekeeper” of information. Some may not trust the politician, the government official, the business leader, the community organizer, the lawyer, etc. But the media institution they trust because we are known to uphold no other interest but the facts and the truth. In a story where the truth is vague or fuzzy, we at least try to present a balanced perspective to guide the reader to make his/her opinion. Always, our facts are gathered by tenacious journalists and reviewed by eagle-eyed editors.

Fake News has changed all that. Fake News is a new form of bullying, mockery and deception.

We have all read about “Pizzagate,” a manufactured story about a sex ring in DC targeting young children. Nothing about the circumstances as reported was true, but a man’s attempt to rescue the abused children amid a volley of gunfire was all too real! As noted, Edgar Welch was arrested “chasing a rumor.”

In our community, the volatile nature of Philippine politics is ripe for all kinds of irresponsible reporting -- from Vice President Leni Robredo being named after Vladimir Lenin “because she is a communist” to President Duterte being the ‘role model’ of President-Elect Trump. As media professionals, we have the training, the skill set, the experience, and the education to detect what’s real and what’s not. It’s a job we all take seriously. There’s a reason we have a Journalist’s Code of Ethics.

To our community, let us be more vigilant, more discerning and more rational as we examine everything that we read. If news sounds too good to be true or too preposterous to be believed, maybe it is. It does not help that we recklessly pass things around via Share. It contributes to another individual being fed a steady stream of falsehoods.

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