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Friday, June 21, 2024

Dr. Minguita Padilla Pushes to Combat ‘fake news’ to Save Lives

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To preserve lives, we must combat ”fake news.” Dr. Minguita Padilla, a health advocate in the Philippines, said this in her recent column in a national newspaper.

The present pandemic has wreaked havoc on our life and the public health system. This “global war” is complicated by an adversary employing unrelenting psychological or mind warfare.

This opponent is both dangerous and effective. He can penetrate our houses, where we believe we are protected from a fatal illness, even though we follow all safety precautions.

There are numerous slogans here, but we may recognize them as fake news, deception, or misinformation.

The “infodemic” of fake news has produced uncertainty and skepticism among our friends and family about the benefits of vaccination, which saves lives. As a result, many people are afraid of getting vaccinated. As a result, many of our lives have been lost. Our critical care units (ICUs) are teeming with people who are sorry they were not vaccinated. And for many, it is too late to repent.

There is no formal method for dealing with bullies and irresponsible online influencers who currently spread disinformation. It won’twon’t be simple, but we can get started. However, for it to be successful, several sectors and stakeholders must work together.

The issue of ”fake news” is not unique to the Philippines. This global issue affects everyone who uses social media or the internet. According to studies, fake news spreads faster than the truth, especially if it is dramatic, scandalous, or shocking.

To make matters worse, the style of individuals who propagate false news, which mixes facts and lies, has made it more difficult to determine what is true and what is not. What about non-doctors if even doctors are perplexed? After all, the most effective lies contain very little truth.

Systematic approaches to addressing the infodemic have been implemented in various nations. Many countries have already formed anti-disinformation task groups, while others are enacting legislation to punish people who distribute false information.

The US Surgeon General recently issued a public declaration with excellent recommendations for all stakeholders regarding false news. School-based media literacy programs are also being researched to teach youngsters how to examine the report they receive, so they are not easily duped. We can think about doing these in our community.

We teach medical students how to analyze scientific articles to determine the quality of the evidence. It is time to require our medical students and practitioners to study how to combat fake news and answer patients’ inquiries in a way that is not scary, clear, easy to grasp, and concerning.

Such abilities and expertise are critical not only for this crisis but also for the future. There are already webinars on this topic, but it is a good idea to consider introducing these courses into school curricula.

We can talk about fake news without mentioning our adversaries. I’mI’m referring to our media brothers and sisters. Freedom of expression and freedom of the press is not the same thing. Although the Constitution guarantees both, press freedom bears a larger burden.

A person can say whatever he wants on various social media platforms as long as it is not defamatory and will remain just an opinion. However, when prominent mass media organizations with widespread coverage on television or radio give that individual air time to express corrupt and harmful beliefs, it is easy to believe that the audience is confused and easily persuaded.

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