Media and Information Literacy (MIL) advocates conducted Share Mo Lang (SML) Voter’s Forum last April 9, 2022. The forum gained 100 participants on Zoom and over 50 from the Facebook Live Stream. The online forum paved way for young voters to connect and to get out of their echo chambers in order that they would learn about other people’s experiences and points of view, at the same time enhancing their understanding of fact-checking and critical thinking.
Participants were Teachers, Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) Officials, and Volunteers from different youth organizations nationwide. The most number of participants were students aged 16-20 years. They were able to take part of the forum through the Zoom Chat and Facebook Livestream comment section.
Selected speakers were able to share their insights live in Zoom. Speakers were from Manila, Cebu, Guimaras, Makati, Marikina, Pasay, Rizal, Baguio, South Cotabato, and Bulacan. Each of them represented one Presidential Candidate that they support while one of them is an “undecided” voter.
The Senior Program Officer of Internews, Mr. Gian Libot opened the forum. In his opening remarks, he reminded the participants to be respectful in engaging with each other. He also emphasized the importance of listening with the intent to understand. Following this, eboto’s spokesperson Christine Pambuan discussed their initiative that will help young Filipino voters know their candidates better in a simple and fun way.
PinasForward and eboto.ph presented a Fact-Checking game before the start of each round. Participants identified whether the news clip displayed is fake or factual and if it is accurate or not. After each game, the organizers gave tips and techniques in spotting fake news. Prizes were given to participants who gave the correct answer.
Issues Discussed During the Forum
During the forum, organizers touched six issues that most youth care about. They gather these topics from the recent Presidential debates done on live television programs. These were:
- Candidates plan for Education on pandemic
- The current administration’s response to COVID-9 pandemic
- The possible return of Marcoses in Malacañang
- Challenges to freedom of expression and press freedom
- Anti-Terror Law
- Same-sex marriage and divorce
Each speaker shared their own perspective regarding the issue for 60 seconds. Meanwhile, participants in the live stream also shared their opinions in the comment section and engaged in a Menti poll.
Organized by MIL
SML Voters’ Forum is co-organized by Media and Information Literacy (MIL) advocates: Asian Institute of Journalism and Communication (AIJC), Break the Fake Movement, Foundation for Media Alternatives (FMA), Out of the Box Media Literacy Initiative (OOTB), Yabong Philippines, eboto.ph, and PinasForward, with support from Internews and USAID.
The main intention of this event is not to persuade voters to change their minds about their preferred candidates but to enhance listening skills, emphasize the importance of the process of fact-checking and critical thinking, and teach the youth to recognize commonalities (such as patriotism) even among citizens who may hold opposing viewpoints.
The Forum Gained Positive Feedbacks
The event gained 116 positive feedback from the participants. 63.7% of them believed that the online forum was able to provide a space for civil, respectful discussion among young voters with diverse political perspectives. In addition, 71.3% agreed that the online forum encouraged them to listen to the views of others. Looking at the numbers, Share Mo Lang Voter’s forum was indeed successful in providing a safe and respectful space for discourse among young voters and encouraging them to listen actively. The organizers of the online forum gave Certificate of Participation to Participants who completed the evaluation form.
If you missed the event, you may click this link to watch the replay.