“The proliferation of fake news is real and this has negative impact in our world today.”
Secretary Martin Andanar of the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO), the current chair of the ASEAN Ministers Responsible for Information (AMRI), pointed this out during a roundtable discussion with the Information Ministers of the ten-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
The meeting, with the theme, “Countering Fake News and Communicating the Right Information”, was held in Quezon City on Saturday (September 9) at the Seda Hotel North Vertis.
Andanar said he proposed the holding of the roundtable discussion so that the ASEAN Information Ministers “can exchange ideas and find ways to collectively address the negative consequences brought about by the spread of fake news.”
The Roundtable Discussion focused on four topics: Country Experiences on Fake News; Practical Measures to Counter Fake News; Possible Government Initiatives to Ensure that the Right Information is Communicated; and Possible Cooperation Initiatives on Countering Fake News and Communicating the Right Information.
Joining Andanar in the Roundtable Discussion were the Information Ministers from Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
Representatives from the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC) of Japan also sat as observers.
Andanar proposed the setting up of a mechanism for regular monitoring of news among the ASEAN member-states, especially on significant issues of interest. This monitoring/nerve center, which can be called the ASEAN Communications Centre (ACC), Andanar said, can be housed at the ASEAN Secretariat in Jakarta, with inputs to be provided by the official news agencies or information ministries of the ASEAN member-states.
Andanar recalled that years ago, there was an ASEAN News Exchange Mechanism (ANEX) composed of the official news agencies of the ASEAN member-states, but this was overtaken by the advent of the internet. This can be revisited and considered for revival, he said.
At present, he said, the ASEAN Committee on Culture and Information implements the ASEAN Television News (ATN) project.
The PCOO Secretary noted that the materials exchanged among the ASEAN member-states, through Brunei Darussalam as the country coordinator, are mostly feature stories since these are sent only on a weekly basis and even less often.
Andanar suggested that the participants conduct a dialogue with Google, Facebook, and other social media sites to explore how these social media networks can help ASEAN in countering fake news and communicating the right information.
Oscar Franklin Tan, columnist of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, shared practical measures on how to deal with and counter fake news, especially those that proliferate online.
The other members of the Philippine delegation were Undersecretary Noel George Puyat, PCOO; Dino Apolonio, GM, PTNI; Harold E. Clavite, Director General, Philippine Information Agency; Demic Pabalan, Executive Director, RTVM; Rizal Aportadera, Director, RP; Benjie Felipe, Director, MMPM and Atty. Kristian Ablan, Assistant Secretary for Policy and Legislative Affairs, PCOO.