How Being Literate Could Prevent Hoax?

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On Sunday, August 15th, 2021, Act Global organized a webinar called Literacy to Prevent Hoax. Still, in this pandemic situation, this event was held online with 75 participants. To discuss this issue, we invite dr. Dito Anurogo, M.Sc as a speaker. dr. Dito himself is an active lecturer at the University of Muhammadiyah Makassar and an author of several health books. He is also a founder of The School of Life Institute, and currently studying for a doctoral degree at Taipei Medical University. We hope he could enlighten us on why it is so important to be literate during this pandemic covid-19 crisis.

Usually our activity at Act Global we held online, but due to this pandemic situation, we adapted and held our sessions online. Pandemics really reshape how we do things. From spending one or two hours going to our offices to simply opening the laptop at the side of our bed. And it is safe to say pandemics help us to undergo this crisis better.

Imagine, if there is no technology or the internet not as advanced as today, the pandemics going to be more irritating. We will be so pissed at the government that forces us to stay at our house while we did not have anything to do. Other than that, social media development has raise so significantly which makes us easier to interact with each other. Yeah, sure social media come with a bad impact, but on the bright side, it still helps us connect to people around the world. And we should agree to disagree that in this social media age, a lot of benefits we got from this platform.

Back to our topic about preventing hoaxes, a wiseman said, nowadays, people are full of information but lack knowledge.  The Wiseman has his own point. With all the flooding information, people tend to lose what matters to them. Therefore, some of the people said something without fully understanding what they were speaking about. Yet, we have become a society where we know so much about many things and from those, raise a problem. Hoax. false news, misjudgment, et cetera.  Those problems are rooted in a problem called lack of literacy.

So, what is literacy? Literacy is the ability to read and write. Yet the meaning of literacy seems so simple, but it is not. Being literate means understanding something holistically and comprehensively. To have that understanding, the information we receive should come from integrity, ethical-aesthetic, solutive, innovative, and futuristic sources. 

In this pandemic situation, information is one of the keys to coming out of this crisis. The ability to filter the information that we get could decrease the impact of this multidimensional crisis on us. That is why, we have to pay more attention to the information that we receive, not only do we filter the information, we have to be literate about health information. 

The indicators of being literate on this health issue come with a multidimensional and multi-perspective. The information that we receive should be clear from factors that could lead to any misinformation. This type of information could reduce the spread of misinformation and hoaxes. 

To make us more literate,  there are activities that you can do, for example, reading, writing, storytelling, discussing, dialectic, deliberation, and debating. From this, it is hoped that it will be impactful and could achieve the digitalization era, could have a healthy influence on health and the sociocultural factors, it could stimulate education and the economy. Through cross-disciplinary synergy, being literate has the potential to create a great and dignified Indonesia. 

In the context of preventing hoaxes,  Is it enough just to filter before sharing? Dito thought not only do we have to filter the information before we share it, but we also have to consider and find out the source of the information. We have to explore if there is an implied meaning in the news. After that, we have to look at the author’s source and also the sources that support the news. Also be aware of whether there are elements of bias, and humor, which can affect the truth of the information, and if it is necessary, you can ask the experts directly to validate the news. And because of this pandemic, people seem to be freaking out and sometimes share the misinformation.

“Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts” – Daniel Patrick Moynihan Newsweek, 25 August 1986

To understand comprehensively, there is a term called a hoax, misinformation, and disinformation.  In the book Hoax: A History of Deception; 5,000 Years of Fakes, Forgeries, and Fallacies Ian Tattersall defined the hoax as a vast issue of incorrect which so fashioned as to invite reflexive, unthinking acceptance by the greatest number of persons of the most varied social identities and of the highest possible social pretensions to gull its victims into putting up the highest possible social currency in support of the hoax. But not only that, but there is also misinformation, defined as incorrect or misleading information presented as fact, and similar to misinformation, there’s is a term called disinformation. Disinformation is a subset of propaganda and is defined as false information that is spread deliberately to deceive people.

What is Infodemics?

dr. Dito explains that infodemic is a phenomenon of misinformation and unreliability, which spreads quickly and makes people confused, depressed, and other behaviors. This can also be a distrust of the community of health experts and the government which leads to the division in the society.

The government through KOMINFO has actually helped a lot to prove whether the news can be accounted for or not.

The Key to Accelerating Literacy Intelligence for the millennials: 

  1. Family Literacy (Have a bedtime story and create a special time for reading and writing together, exemplary from parents and a private library). This culture seems to fade away from our society, so it will be so much better if the kids know how stories happen in their hometowns. 
  2. School/Campus Literacy – compulsory reading, activate school/campus libraries, FGDs, in libraries, exemplary lecturers/teachers, wall magazines
  3. Public literacy must also have support from the government. This is so important to raise the level of our public literacy. 

Written by: Harun Arrasyid


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