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[#PressRelease]Students take on role of content creators to fight disinformation, revive media trust

Armed with smartphones and cameras, more than a hundred students created videos that answered pressing questions about disinformation, hate speech, and media distrust as part of Out of the Box Media Literacy Initiative (OOTB)’s nationwide contest for high school and college students.

As part of this year’s celebration of the Global Media and Information Literacy Week (Oct. 24 to 31), OOTB, along with other civil society stakeholders, academic institutions and media organizations, organized a weeks-long celebration that included a nationwide contest where students uploaded 90-second creative videos answering questions related to regaining people’s trust and fighting disinformation.

For the high school category, Allen Justin Mauleon of Statefields School Inc. (Cavite) won first place out of more than 50 entries. (Watch Allen’s video here:

Mauleon, in his video, emphasized the duty to promote a culture of critical thinking combined with compassion. “While you come across many who are ignorant, take a moment to not only remind them, but yourself of your intentions,” he said. “Engage, not isolate. Encourage, not demoralize.”

High school students answered the question, “How should a media and information literate individual address fellow citizens who are misinformed, hateful, or discriminatory?”

Shanna Mae D. Russell of Science and Technology Education Center (Cebu) bagged the second place, while Airyn Francisco of Vinzons Pilot High School (Camarines Norte) clinched third place. (Watch Shanna’s video here: | Watch Airyn’s video here:

For the college category, Juan Miguel L. Balagapo of the University Of Santo Tomas won first place out of more than 50 entries. (Watch Balagapo’s video here:

Balagapo, an Information and Technology student, said in his video that enhancing people’s trust in the media could start by highlighting the media’s role in keeping people safe from online scams that exploit people’s susceptibility to falsehoods.

The second place went to Ryand Angelo Ugalde of Mariano Marcos State University while partners Chris Jeremiah Antonio and Jirah Dean Failano from the same university bagged third place. (Watch Ryand’s video here: | Watch Chris and Jirah’s video here:

The six winners of the nationwide MIL contest will take home a certificate, cash prizes, and limited edition gift items.

Mauleon said that he has long mulled over how to engage people who see the world as “black or white and us versus them.”

“It shows the vulnerability of [social media], and how it's designed to feed people what they want to hear rather than what they need to hear. I believe these to be the reason for the importance of having more individuals who strive for truth and critical thinking in this digital age,” Mauleon added.

Meanwhile, Balagapo said that the need to inform others of the importance of fighting hate speech and media distrust was a huge task.

“There is always a need for someone to ignite that fire, keep it burning, and set it ablaze. If I could enlighten the people with significant and helpful information with the media itself, it is already a step forward in fighting hate speech and media distrust,” Balagapo added.

The 2022 Global Media and Information Literacy Week in the Philippines (#GlobalMILWeekPH) was made possible by the support of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Jakarta Office.

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