Justice Leonen: Trust journalism, science amid rise of ‘reckless’ posts
MANILA, Philippines—To mark World Press Freedom Day, Supreme Court (SC) Associate Justice Marvic Leonen is calling on the public to trust in science and in journalism amid the rise of “reckless posts” on social media, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I think journalism contains many of the ethics that are not there when someone posts [a] perceived fact or an opinion,” Leonen said in an online forum on Saturday.
Citing a previous case, Leonen stressed the distinction between a social media post made by a regular person and a post made by a journalist.
“Journalists always have the ethic of balance. Journalists will always have the ethic of validation. Journalists will always have the ethic of accountability – not only to themselves but more so to their institution. Journalists also always have facts verified collectively within their institutions. You have your editors and various layers of it.”
“Therefore, as differentiated from any other person that posts on social media, the information that you [journalists] provide are often sought as a result of balance, validation, accountability and collectivity within your sector,” he added.
Leonen also lamented how people nowadays tend to believe social media posts from unverified sources over news reports from established news organizations.
“Sadly, many are now more convinced about the reckless posts that are made on social media and act on that basis. I think one of the things that the virus has thought us is that it is important to trust science, to trust validation again, because it is something that undergirds how we make policy on this planet,” he said.
When ruling on a freedom of expression case, the Associate Justice emphasized the importance to make the said distinction between a regular post and a journalist’s post on social media.
“And in saying that the freedom of the press is primordial, I would make a distinction between the real press and, of course, those that are posting only because they want to retweet or repost. I have been quoted many times in many of my speeches, that ‘a retweet or a repost, or the number of retweet or repost does not make the post true,'” he stressed.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.