Stacy De Jesus
Fake news isn't new. What's new today is how propaganda machines have learned to creatively and effectively use it on social media to influence minds, create alternative realities and impact real events. I saw this trend emerge in the Philippines in 2015 and that gave birth to a climate of fear, uncertainty, and doubt online. As of May 2018, I, together with my colleagues in Rappler have been attacked by officials in at least 8 government offices. The unfounded attacks on our credibility can be disheartening, but now more than ever, I find it important for the people to be media literate, engage in discussions around issues that matter, and stay civil. People with conflicting ideas are bullied; journalists, who raise questions, are harassed; freedom of speech and of the press are stepped on; and on top of that, some government officials abuse their power. The toxicity brought about by the spread of falsehood and hate speech caused people to pull away from important conversations, and it became harder for the average Internet user to differentiate the truth from disinformation. We need to fight for democracy. We are inspired by the courage of those who continue to care and speak up despite intimidation. Together, we will hold the line.