Mon, 19 Aug 2019

BRUNEI DARUSSALAM, Jan. 17 (PIA) -- Philippines chaired the 4th meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Senior Officials Responsible for Information (SOMRI) Working Group on Information, Media and Training (WG-IMT) held in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam from January 15-16.

"With the rapid changes in information technology and communication landscape not just in the ASEAN region but also globally, we continue working together to further advance the relevance of ASEAN information," Working Group Chair and Philippine Information Agency (PIA) Director-General Harold E. Clavite said.

The two-day meeting discussed policy options and recommendations in advancing the development of the ASEAN information and media sector to boost people's awareness and appreciation of the work that ASEAN does and the benefits it brings.

The Philippine delegation consisting of Clavite and PIA officials Rhea Kristine Cy and William L. Beltran reported during the meeting about national initiatives including Media and Information Literacy (MIL) efforts, with special focus on cyber wellness for the youth.

In its report, the Philippines mentioned the conduct of a MIL Forum in Manila, engaging ASEAN member-states in promoting MIL through an awareness campaign using channels and strategies relevant and appropriate to the youth audience in their respective countries.

The development of multimedia materials aimed at promoting cyber wellness among the youth of ASEAN is currently ongoing, the delegates from the Philippines said. Among these materials are short videos on cyberbullying, online gaming, online dating, online scam, online privacy and internet addiction, and some infographics and GIFs. A module for cyber wellness training for the youth is also being formulated. The production of materials is expected to be completed by February this year.

The project, done with Singapore as co-proponent, was funded under the Japan-ASEAN Integration Fund.

Meanwhile, in the Philippine education sector, media, information and literacy skills are already embedded in the school curriculum to develop students to be creative and critical thinkers, as well as responsible users and competent producers of media and information. Students are also taught to apply online safety, security, and ethical practice in the use of information and communication technology.

To further strengthen MIL across the information sector in the Philippines, PIA conducts capability building trainings among information officers to be influencers in promoting responsible sharing of information.

Another initiative is the creation of the Information Highway Philippines, with the aim of enhancing and strengthening people-to-people connectivity which would help in promoting digital literacy and aid in combatting the proliferation of fake news and disinformation.

"It is important to take initiatives such as MIL to prevent the spread of disinformation and fake news by inculcating among the youth, the media and other ASEAN stakeholders the need to be responsible sharers of information, with the goal of empowering individuals, communities and even nations," Clavite said.

The 5th meeting of the ASEAN SOMRI WG-IMT will be held in the Philippines sometime during the last quarter of 2019. (CLJD/WLB-PIA 3)

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