[Nonfiction Wednesday] Fighting Misinformation In The Face Of An Infodemic

Myra here.

We are delighted to dedicate our Wednesdays to featuring nonfiction titles, as per usual. We would also be linking our nonfiction choices with our reading theme throughout the year, when we can.

This year, we hope to feature books that fit any of the following criteria:

  1. Postcolonial literature and/or [pre/post] revolutionary stories
  2. Stories by indigenous / first-nation peoples / people of colour
  3. Narratives of survival and healing, exile and migration, displacement and dispossession
  4. Books written or illustrated by people who have been colonized, oppressed, marginalized

#Youthink (Free Download from CANVAS)

Written by Gigo Alampay Illustrated by Liza Flores, Abi Goy, Frances Alvarez, and Jamie Bauza
Published by: CANVAS (2020) ISBN: 9789719689263 E-book freely available on publisher website. Book photos taken by me.

The entire world has fallen prey to what the book terms an infodemic defined as: “the rapid and far-reaching spread of both accurate and inaccurate information.” This is felt even more keenly in the current Philippine Presidential election when misinformation and historical revisionism had spread like wildfire.

The book is packaged much like a magazine that is ostensibly meant to appeal to a young audience who are digital natives and who are predictably connected to the internet from their waking hour until they sleep at night.

The book tackles false information, the many forms it can take, even providing a case study of how false information looks like, citing the case of National Geographic, for example, that was called into question because of the information that they shared on their website back in 2017.

I personally feel that this is information that teachers should incorporate in their digital literacy classes in school. It also explores concepts such as “filter bubble” and most importantly the difference between “facts” which are verifiable truths and “opinions.”

I feel that there should be a version of this same important information that targets older people who are digital immigrants. I know people in their 50s and 60s who are victims of misinformation and historical revisionism and are easy prey for phishing and “click-bait” headlines. As Dr. Clarissa noted in her contribution to this book:

… others are actively trying to revise history, denying the horrific abuses and billions plundered by the Marcos regime. How will our children learn the lessons of history if those lessons are rendered debatable?

What is even more alarming is how schoolteachers themselves disseminate and spread false information because of this failure in discerning information that are truthful and valid. Evidently, this is a much needed text that should not only be taught to impressionable young children but also to adults and senior citizens who clearly do not know better.

#DecolonizeBookshelves2022 Update: 42 out of target 100

May 11, 2022 at 06:30AM Myra Garces-Bacsal