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PIA chief urges IOs, media practitioners to uphold ethical standards in info dissemination

DAVAO CITY (PIA) -- Philippine Information Agency (PIA) Director-General Jose A. Torres Jr. urged the information officers and local media practitioners of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) to always uphold ethical standards in information dissemination.

Speaking during the first BARMM Information and Media Summit held on Thursday, October 19, at the SMX Convention Center in Davao City, DG Torres emphasized the participants’ significant role in achieving moral governance in the country by “promoting transparency, ethical decision-making, inclusivity, and accuracy” in the information they disseminate.

The Director General was one of the guest speakers who tackled the “Role of Information Officers in Moral Governance” during the three-day summit organized by the BARMM government in partnership with the United States Institute of Peace, European Union, Support sa Bangsamoro Transition (SUBATRA), UK Government, the Asian Foundation, and Mindanao Institute of Journalism (MinJourn).

The summit aimed to strengthen partnerships with media stakeholders throughout the Bangsamoro region, and it centered on promoting accountable journalism.

“In moral governance, we are supposed to ensure that information is accurate, unbiased, and complete,” he said, 

Director-General Jose A. Torres, Jr. encourages the information officers and local media practitioners in BARMM to uphold transparency and ethical standards in disseminating information.

emphasizing that information officers and local media practitioners should take the lead role in “maintaining the integrity of data used by policymakers and decision-makers.”

Amidst the political pressure, which he said prompted local information officers and media practitioners to manipulate information, DG Torres urged them to cement a strong foundation within themselves backed by courage and integrity.

Director-General Jose A. Torres, Jr. talks about the "Role of Information Officers in Moral Governance” during the three-day Information and Media Summit organized by the BARMM government.

He also reminded the local information officers and media practitioners to take extra precautions in handling personal data and “must uphold ethical standards in data collection and protection.”

“Upholding moral principles in the face of such pressure requires courage and integrity. Kaya dapat handa tayo humarap sa mga ganoong bagay at dapat malakas yung foundation natin when it comes to facing those challenges,” he stated.

With the prevalence of misinformation and disinformation in both digital and traditional media, DG Torres believed that information officers could counter falsehoods by promoting evidence-based information.

As technology continues to evolve, which has birthed mountains of information, DG Torres encouraged them to adapt to the technological changes. However, he told them to have keen eyes to see through which information is accurate and relevant.

“Nasa panahon tayo ng advancement of technology, we are witnessing an unprecedented flow of information. Kaya sa panahon ngayon, we are confronted with ethical implications of how information is managed and disseminated at lalong-lalo na bilang mga information officers at mga custodians of information na may malaking influence, a significant influence, sa pag-shape ng moral fabric of society,” he said.

Meanwhile, DG Torres also pointed out the significant role of local information officers in crisis communication, especially in maintaining order and minimizing harm.

“During crisis situations such as natural disasters or public health emergencies, information officers must balance the need for timely and accurate information with the imperative of preventing panic or misinformation,” he said.

“Kayo bilang information officers, ang mas importante ngayon ay yung mga information na ilalabas natin. Yung stories na ilalabas natin ay hindi mag-cause ng panic doon sa mga tao,” he added.

Moreover, DG Torres raised the important role of the BARMM information officers in bridging the government and the people.

Director-General Jose A. Torres, Jr. emphasizes the role of the information officers and media practitioners in communicating government programs, policies, and accomplishments and channeling the issues and concerns of the people to the government.

He said that information officers should not only communicate government programs, policies, and accomplishments to the public but should also serve as a channel for “feedback from the people to the government.”

“So hindi lang ito one-way stream, bilang information officers, you are not just supposed to reach out information to the public, but to also listen to the people para malaman din ng leaders kung ano yung hinanakit, hinaing ng taong bayan,” he stated. (ASO/PIA-XI)

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