Academic, media institutions relaunch Tsek.ph to fact-check 2022 elections-related claims

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 24 2022 01:34 PM | Updated as of Jan 24 2022 03:33 PM

MANILA - Academic and media institutions on Monday relaunched Tsek.ph, a website that carries their fact-check articles and research "to counter disinformation and provide the public with verified information" in the run up to the May elections.

Tsek.ph, through its media and school partners, will verify and fact-check platforms, campaign promises, and other election-related statements, and rate these either as accurate, false, misleading, no basis or needs context.

"[Fact checking] is an important reminder of the importance of working together when facts are under attack ,and fact checking is needed more than ever," said Baybars Orsek, director of the International Fact-Checking Network.

"Tsek.ph is one of the most significant efforts in the world that has been carrying out these activities in such a collaborative way that has inspired so many collaborative initiatives among other fact checkers," he said during the website's virtual press launch.

ABS-CBN News underscored the importance of retaining its commitment to fact-checking despite challenges in manpower and resources.

"This is an inherent part of our responsibility as journalists: to hold those in power accountable, and to protect a vibrant democracy where people can make decisions freely based on correct information," said Ging Reyes, ABS-CBN senior vice president for Integrated News and Current Affairs.

"At a time when disinformation has become so rampant, and attacks versus truth and truth-tellers have become so vicious, it has become a necessity for us to come together to become a voice to set things straight," she said.

The country needs fact-checking nowadays when misinformation and disinformation have become more rampant as politicians compete for elected positions, said Arminda Santiago, dean of the University of the Philippines College of Mass Communications.

"During the pandemic, media has evolved not just as a source of information but has evolved paradoxically to be a stabilizing and destabilizing platform for society where misinformation and disinformation proliferate," she said.

"The concern is developing the digital literacy of the voting population by emphasizing the importance of fact checking, so that we are not saturated and lulled into misinformation and disinformation," she said. 

So far, 22 institutions have joined Tsek.ph's initiative, and more media, academic, and civil society organizations are expected to take part in the effort before the May 9 elections.

"Fact checking today is at the intersection of journalism and technology," Orsek said.

"The world has its eye on the Philippines and I look forward to sharing your experiences," he said.

A 2018 study showed that majority of Filipino internet users believe "fake news" or false information on the internet has become a serious problem.

A 2020 survey also showed that 73 percent of Filipinos respondents cited Facebook as their primary source of news. Other sources of news cited by respondents include YouTube, Facebook Messenger, Twitter and Instagram.

Last year, Facebook said that it has been taking a more aggressive approach to shut down coordinated groups of real-user accounts engaging in certain harmful activities on its platform to curb disinformation and harassment.

news.abs-cbn.com is the official news website of ABS-CBN Corp.

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