With the May 2022 Philippine elections just weeks away, tensions are running high in digital spaces. This polarising environment is a hotbed of politically-motivated digital threats: from cyberattacks against media groups to sophisticated disinformation campaigns.
On April 9, EngageMedia hosted the online event “Safeguarding Digital Rights Amid the Philippine Elections” to discuss these digital dangers and encourage action against practices threatening human rights and Philippine democracy. The event featured talks by Prof Nicole Curato and Dr Jonathan Corpus Ong, who shared insights from their extensive research on online disinformation, trolls, and influencers.
Also sharing their views on how to respond to these digital threats were reactors from the academe and civil society groups:
- Michael P. Cañares, a leading consultant on open data and open government;
- Atty Rona Ann Caritos, executive director of the Legal Network for Truthful Elections;
- Lisa Garcia, executive director of the Foundation for Media Alternatives;
- Prof Tony La Viña, former dean of the Ateneo School of Government
The discussions centred mainly on disinformation and how it can influence voter decisions. The role of fake news, paid political trolling, influencer marketing, and media manipulation techniques in the Philippines have been well documented. This study by Curato, Ong, and Ross Tapsell of the Australian National University reveals trends in disinformation tactics, including the evolution of the disinformation industry into a well-oiled machinery headed by marketing strategists.
This event is part of EngageMedia’s wider efforts to safeguard Filipino voters’ digital rights and online safety during the election season. To help citizens protect themselves and their communities, EngageMedia has compiled a list of tips to improve digital security now, on election day, and beyond. Read the full list here.