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Bacolod City, Philippines Thursday, October 12, 2017
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with Benjamin Calderon

True or not

Benjamin Calderon

The challenge to determine whether the information we receive is true or not has become more numerous and interesting that legislation is now being proposed and even drafted to address the phenomenon on the growth of fake news or misinformation.

Technology has enabled people to access media and share their own opinion and stories for their own personal reasons. The interconnectivity through social media between people and organizations has produced an information boom that threatens to influence an individual's character and thinking. Knowing the risks and costs of being misinformed I thought it best to look for guidelines in dealing with the present reality of having easy access to information and determining whether what I read, see, or hear is true or not.

Dr. Crispin C. Maslog, board chair of the Manila-based Asian Media Information and Communication Centre advises, “… drill into our students the principles of objectivity, double-checking facts, accuracy, fairness and balance in news reporting, as well as responsibility in opinion writing. At the same time, we should educate media consumers on the ways of mass media and social media so that they will not be seduced, or fooled, by them. Professionalizing media practitioners combined with educating consumers is the way to go.”

As we have become more communicatively empowered, it is very helpful to remember that privilege or empowerment always carries the balancing element of responsibility. This article provides me an opportunity of reviewing and promoting the basic lessons in life development that the Boy Scout movement teaches with the Boy Scout's oath and law. “On my honor, I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country, the Republic of the Philippines, and to obey the Scout Law; to help other people at all times, to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight.” We do need more mature boy scouts in our country today.

Let us end with an anecdote that encourages us to be careful with information. St. Peter was guarding the Pearly Gates, waiting for new souls coming to heaven. He saw Jesus walking by and caught his attention. "Jesus, could you mind the gate while I go do an errand?" "Sure," replied Jesus. "What do I have to do?" "Just find out about the people who arrive. Ask about their background, their family, and their lives. Then decide if they deserve entry into Heaven." "Sounds easy enough. OK. "So Jesus manned the gates for St. Peter. The first person to approach the gates was a wrinkled old man. Jesus summoned him to sit down and sat across from him. Jesus peered at the old man and asked, "What did you do for a living?"The old man replied, "I was a carpenter." Jesus remembered his own earthly existence and leaned forward. "Did you have any family?" he asked."Yes, I had a son, but I lost him." Jesus leaned forward some more. "You lost your son? Can you tell me about him?" "Well, he had holes in his hands and feet." Jesus leaned forward even more and whispered, "Father?" The old man leaned forward and whispered, "Pinocchio?"*

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