A cursory look at the headlines of news articles from Southeast Asia will quickly reveal that the phenomenon of “fake news” is a topic of concerns in every country in the region.
There is a need to address the spread of disinformation and misinformation holistically in the region including stronger awareness-raising, better policy, as well as more education and training. This was the main objective of the “First Multi-stakeholder Consultation on the Draft Guidelines for the Training-of-Trainers Curriculum to Address Disinformation and Promote Media Literacy” which took place on 25 May 2021.
The event was organized by ASEAN Secretariat with support from ASEAN-USAID PROSPECT project. It is part of a series of activities designed to familiarize participants of a draft guidelines, including the concepts and training modules for the training-of-trainers (TOT) programmes, designed to counter disinformation in ASEAN countries.
UNESCO was invited to share the “Journalism, ‘Fake News’ and Disinformation” handbook as a main resource material for this initiative. The popular handbook which is available in 23 different languages including Bahasa Indonesia, Khmer, Malay, Myanmar, Tetum, Thai, Vietnamese, as well as English. It consists of both theoretical and hands-on practical modules, making it an ideal starting point to understand the phenomenon of disinformation and misinformation for educators and journalists.
During the 31st ASEAN Summit in November 2017, ASEAN Leaders highlighted the importance of combating “fake news” across the Member States and at the 14th Conference of the ASEAN Ministers Responsible for Information (AMRI) held in early 2018, ASEAN officials endorsed the Framework and Joint Declaration to Minimize the Harmful Effects of Fake News.
UNESCO advocates for large scale Media and Information Literacy programmes to mainstream critical thinking as the first line of defence against disinformation while at the same time respecting the freedom of opinion and expression and press freedom including during the current COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, UNESCO has produced a variety of resources for different stakeholders on this issue including policy briefs, audio resources and infographics.