This blog was written by Angelo Lorenzo, one of the participants of FMA’s Digital Rights Camp held in May 2019.
Being selected as a participant in the Foundation of Media Alternatives’ Digital Rights Camp in May this year was one of the many things that I am grateful for. I met people who inspired me to believe in the greater good for the country despite the threats that gradually reduce our democracy and antagonize people’s freedom. I have also learned that advocacies and various causes become more effective and fulfilling once these are done collectively.
One major takeaway that left a mark on me after participating in the camp pertains to the internet and social media being safe spaces and appropriate avenues for information dissemination and freedom of expression. But like many tools of technology, these can be used for both honorable intentions or disagreeable pursuits. Related to these are the issues on data privacy, the propagation of fake news to advance a tyrannical propaganda, and the culture of shaming.
While these may threaten, these can also be combated and mitigated. Using the internet and social media for good requires thorough critical thinking. This ability comes from users. Before fake news or misinformation can shape our mindset, we must consider the sources. This means verifying credibility of websites, the person who posted content, or checking other media outlets if they’ve achieved a common truth. News these days may be covered in various angles, but the truth remains the same.
In an age when freedom of expression and the press are threatened, using sources of information such as the internet and social media can be advantageous if we start with our selves and encourage people to think critically, practice ethics, and respect one another. The world may keep innovating, but values for the benefit of society are constant.
Along with my experience at the camp is my dedication to use my skills and abilities to advance my advocacy for press freedom using online journalism. I’m also now involved in a new project together with my fellow participants in the camp. This involves starting up a website that features campaigns and humanitarian projects, and calls for volunteers. To achieve the greater good, we have to start with ourselves.
About the contributor
Angelo Lorenzo is a writer based in Mindanao.