Thailand adopts and launches UNESCO’s Handbook on ‘Journalism, “Fake News” and Disinformation’ for youth
Witnessing breaking news may require perfect timing, but sharing news is much easier – all you need to do is click a link. The digital age brings the convenience of information dissemination, while its interactivity and popularization make unverified news widely spread in an instant. Thailand has 50 million active Facebook users, which accounts for more than 70% of the total population, ranking it among the world’s top 10 in terms of social media consumption. Inevitably, it has been experiencing a scourge of disinformation in recent years.
Information shapes our perceptions, beliefs and attitudes towards the world. As the UN Agency mandated to protect freedom of expression and press, UNESCO pays particular attention to media and information literacy (MIL). The Handbook Journalism, “Fake News” and Disinformation provides a framework for inquiry and lessons to help journalism educators, practising journalists and editors navigate the increasingly murky information environment. The handbook has been translated into several languages and, with the cooperation of Thailand’s Government Public Relations Department, the latest edition in Thai was launched at the Youth Camp on Media and Information Literacy organized in Bangkok from 26-28 February 2020.
“In the digital age, improving media literacy, social literacy and self-awareness comprehensively is an important goal for Thailand to cultivate citizens with social responsibility,” said Sansern Kaewkamnerd, the Director-General of the Public Relations Department in his opening speech. In addition to students majoring in Journalism and Communication from 10 universities across the country, relevant government departments as well as professionals working with internet search engine and social media were also invited to participate. “On the occasion of launching this reference book with UNESCO, this event is a great opportunity to hear from international organizations and national experts, and to inspire the media immunity and creativity of young people in our country,” he said.
Misako Ito, Regional Adviser for Communication and Information at UNESCO Bangkok, highlighted the main objective of UNESCO’s MIL CLICKS programme with the key message “Think critically and Click wisely”. Ms Ito focused on the challenges that Thailand faces in the current media environment, and the efforts that UNESCO, the Government, private sector and NGOs have made to strengthen MIL education over the past few decades. She encouraged young participants and their instructors to share the knowledge, skills and passion they received from the camp to empower their peers to identify effective responses for a fair and balanced society.
An ongoing epidemic of coronavirus disease at the beginning of the year 2020 has made people around the world realize the importance of the quality, impact and credibility of journalism. When information on the web is invented, false, exaggerated or distorted, we cannot get an accurate understanding of the epidemic situation and preventive measures. UNESCO has fought against disinformation, mal-information and misinformation unwittingly shared on social media, which is the goal of Journalism, “Fake News” and Disinformation. By exploring the nature of journalism, the causes of information disorders, and the feasibility of social media verification and combatting online abuse, this handbook is an essential teaching material to empower journalists and student journalists.
With support from the Thai Media Fund and the private publishing house Bookscape, 500 copies of the handbook will be printed and distributed across Thailand in public forums as well as through journalism and mass communication training departments.
Download the Thai version of the Handbook Journalism, “Fake News” and Disinformation
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