MANILA – Far Eastern University (FEU), through its Public Policy Center, conducted a forum titled “The Moment of Truth: The Challenge of Social Media.” Vast changes in the media landscape caused by a connected world have introduced roadblocks to accurate reportage: fake news, plagiarism, social media, among others. The forum wanted to help the public evaluate media and information in the digital age.

“Throughout the years, Philippine media and journalism have been influential in shaping government policies and public opinion. Through the internet, it has never been easier for news to reach wider audiences and exert its power. But the same holds true for misinformation and malicious news, which dilutes the influence of credible media outlets. Critical thinking has never been more important, and FEU is proud to host an event that will cultivate this,” said FEU Public Policy Center Foundation president Dr. Edilberto de Jesus, who moderated the forum.

Melinda de Jesus, Executive Director for the Center of Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR), served as the keynote speaker. Her talk focused on “Media in Philippine Society: Implications for Public Policy,” which traces the development of journalism in the country compared to the evolution of practices abroad. Her proposed framework touched on mutual understanding in society as well as steps toward policy making and good governance.

An esteemed panel of media experts provided insights on de Jesus’ findings, as seen through the lens of their respective specializations.

Atty. Melencio Sta. Maria, current Dean of the FEU Institute of Law, discussed the legal context of media. Atty. Mel has extensive experience in the fields of media and law under his belt, having been a law professor at the Ateneo College of Law, a lecturer for the Philippine Judicial Academy, and a broadcaster and legal expert for News5 and TV5.

Vergel Santos, Chairman of the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility, talked about the Philippine Press and its core values. A veteran journalist, Santos also served as Editor of The Manila Times when it was first revived after Martial Law, and worked as Director of the Philippine News Agency.

Completing the panel was Jose Roberto Alampay, the Editor-in-Chief of InterAksyon and BusinessWorld, and a senior manager at TV5. Alampay tackled the influence of social media on the production and circulation of news.

“There is a need for better understanding of the Philippine Media. As an educational institution, it is our responsibility to mold responsible consumers of information. Through this forum, we aim to help students and the public evaluate media and the kind of information it provides,” said FEU president Dr. Michael Alba.