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Events: Kwago to launch a weekly comics tabloid to battle infodemic

MANILA, PHILIPPINES – In partnership with Comma and The Japan Foundation Manila, Kwago is launching a comic news platform that aims to counter mis- and disinformation, as well as promote Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Media (STEAM) literacy in the Philippines through on Dec 20, 2020 at Slick Barbers Co. with a simultaneous public broadcast online at Kwago’s Facebook Page via Zoom.

Social media is no stranger to fake news peddlers as we continue to see how easily information can be misunderstood and manipulated using algorithms. /baka komiks tabloid wanted to create something that is accessible, relatable, and can easily be digested no matter what literacy level or age group you are from. This is the new tabloid highlights partnerships with subject matter experts and advocates such as Trend Micro and Foundation for Media Alternatives (FMA).

“The pandemic proved how accurate information reaching the majority is critical for public safety. But it also showed us the clear digital divide: majority have no access to news disseminated mostly online because they can’t afford gadgets or have no Internet connectivity, majority don’t know how to recognize which is fake information and not, majority don’t have access to the language of good journalism, which is mostly in English. Kwago wishes to harness the power of comics and print to deliver news anyone can easily connect with, despite your social and educational background. Through /baka, we wish to foster media literacy and address issues with access in different levels hoping it could foster critical thinking so people can tell if a piece of information is true or not on their own,” /baka co-founder and co-editor Juan Puna said.

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The Filipino youth needs a better educational system. 80% ng mga kabataan sa hayskul ay hindi pumasa sa Program for International Student Assessment (PISA). Additionally, Senator Sherwin Gatchalian said that the results of the 2019 study Southeast Asia Primary Learning Metrics revealed only 10% of Filipino learners have developed proficiency in reading, 17% in mathematics and only 1% in writing.

Since lockdown started, most of us have been subject to an increased amount of screen time. The onslaught of the pandemic and systemic neglect have left Filipinos emotionally charged and much more susceptible to falling prey to false information we consume online. Due to the current media and press crackdown, reliable news sources have dwindled and it gets harder to differentiate what’s true from forged.

“/baka is created for people in the communities, especially for the youth who make half, if not most of the population. Being the first komiks tabloid dedicated to reflect on our socio-political condition, we want the younger generation to discover how dynamic and compelling comics journalism is. Comics is an institution of Filipino culture. Comics can be a way to communicate and educate and make the youth fully aware of what’s happening in their environment for them to join the conversation, and to respond in whatever way possible. “baka’ also translates to many things in Filipino but however uncertain, the main point is that we are willing to fight and to take action,” /baka co-founder Niña Sherizze de Sagun said.

 

Why komiks?

“Comics and other ways of visually presenting ideas are really helpful in making information more accessible. Additionally, it’s easier to draw people in and keep them engaged when you tell stories and communicate ideas by using a mixture of words and images. We want people to increase their knowledge on issues that currently plague us and to be more discerning with information they’re exposed to, but to get there, we have to get them to read. Not just read the headlines and the first few paragraphs, but to actually read things ‘til the end. Admittedly, it may be too much to ask of some people to take the time to do so because life gets in the way. So here we are with a tabloid that isn’t only filled with information and with stories, but also illustrations that help in contextualizing things, in creating emotional connections, and in making the information being shared more accessible and easier to consume,” /baka co-founder and art director Arnaiz Gato said.

“It’s not the end-all and be-all solution but it’s definitely one step away from mis- and disinformation,” she added.

The first issue of /baka will be launched on December 20, 2020 with an exhibition curated by Ralph Eya at Slick Barbers Co. as well as a talk on wired education during the pandemic and beyond. The issue features works from over 50 artists and collectives, such as Manix Abrera, Adam David, Hulyen, Marian Hukom, Marx Fidel, Althea Balmes, Amihan, Concerned Artists of the Philippines, Randy Valiente, Claudine Delfin, Josel Nicolas, Cyrill Acuna and others.

Register to the event to get a free printed copy of /baka: https://bit.ly/makibakasadec20

More details in the official event page on Facebook: bit.ly/bakakomiks

PROGRAM

Welcome remarks from Japan Foundation, Kwago, Comma and the founders of /baka komiks tabloid
  • Asst. Director of Japan Foundation Manila, Mr. ABE Wataru
  • /Baka founding members: Czyka Tumaliuan, Claudine Delfin & Nina Sherizze De Sagun
Trend Micro: On the Importance of Cybersecurity EducationJM Hipolito & Poi Beltran
Reading and Performance
  • Curated by Ralph Eya
  • Performances by: Norvvin de los Santos & Floyd Tiogangco
Roundtable Discussion on wired education and beyond
  • Reina Reyes ng Pintig Lab at Knowledge Channel
  • Lyqa Maravilla ng Team Lyqa
  • Josefti Nito ng Read for Hope at Kopya
  • Nanoy Rafael ng Save San Roque Alliance

 

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