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Church media in Philippines meet to fight 'fake news'

Four-day gathering stresses importance of 'renewal for truth' among Church social communicators

ucanews.com reporter, Manila

ucanews.com reporter, Manila

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Church media in Philippines meet to fight 'fake news'

Church social communicators from across the Philippines gather for their annual convention in Batangas province from Aug. 6-9. (Photo by Ayie Ortega-Villanueva)

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Catholic media workers from across the Philippines met this week in Batangas province to discuss strategies to spread church teachings and how to counter the spread of "fake news" especially among the youth.

Archbishop Gilbert Garcera of Lipa, host of this year's National Catholic Media Convention, reminded participants about the importance of "renewal for truth" when working in the media.

“Fake news and attacks are out in the open, but we gather to renew ourselves like the transfiguration of Jesus," the prelate said during the first day of the four-day gathering on Aug. 6.

He also reminded the mostly young participants to think and reflect about the issues that they will post on social media as he stressed the importance of prayer in their work.

Archbishop Garcera said the Church’s social communications ministry needed to renew its commitment to truth especially with the challenges brought about by "fake news."

"The renewal for truth is our transformation as instruments of God to spread truth," said the prelate who heads the Episcopal Commission on Family and Life at the bishops' conference.

Carlo Ople, a digital strategy expert who spoke during the gathering, said it is not enough for Catholics to only watch and read on social media.

"It is important to share the word of God on the internet and social media," he said.

Ople said anybody can be a social media expert, but only those trained in the Church's social communications ministry have the capability to share the teachings of the Church.

"They can be social media experts but [do] they have values?" he said. "When it comes to expertise in life, it's with you," he added.

He said digital technology allows people to enjoy doing what they love but he said they can at the same time "give back to the world."

The annual gathering of people involved in the social communications ministry aims to deepen the "spirituality of the Catholic media" by making use of modern tools and technology.

This year's gathering, initiated by the bishops' Episcopal Commission on Social Communications, attracted 180 delegates.

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