Social media literacy is very important, most especially to youths. Youths actively engage in different online activities and communities. These features, however, introduced con effects to our society. Misuse or abuse of freedom of expression and proliferation of fake news—being among the many negative effects of social media, led our country into many online and offline fiascos. While journalism is important in upholding integrity in the society, it is being neglected by our online friends. However, what’s alarming is, the government also ignores it.
In 2017, a solon proposed House Bill No. 6092, otherwise known as the “Basic Journalism Act of 2017” which aimed to educate and uphold the fundamental principles of journalism. However, it’s been three years since the proposal but no significant action has been made. This House Bill is supposed to address the problem of youth’s misconception on the concept of “free speech” and instill to them the process of properly identifying real from fake news by making Basic Journalism a mandatory subject in Senior High School curriculum.
Of the 1.3 million students that graduated the two-year curriculum on 2018, certainly few of them are unaware of what “freedom of expression” really means, and are possibly, contributors to fake news propagation. We are in a middle of a social age crisis. Wake up people! This administration allowed these students to graduate, with a major influence of social media, but less knowledge on how to properly use it. These so called “netizens,” can also be journalists, and can be instruments to clean our social media shambles.
The state recognizes freedom of expression as both a right and a privilege, but no law has been passed that would educate the young people of its true essence. Likewise, the Anti-Cybercrime Law of 2012, focuses on the prevention of cybercrimes, but no law is on teaching the students of the proper usage of the cyberspace. The country’s future is on the hands of our Filipino youths; therefore, it is our utmost need that basic journalism be taught to students because with the rising popularity of social media sites and proliferation of false news, comes a greater threat to the Filipino freedom of speech and right to authentic information.