News in the age of technology

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“NIE in the Digital Age” aims to bring social media and other online platforms at the forefront of accurate information sharing. KT/Say Tola

With the technological advancements and other proofs of modernity, it is surprising and quite puzzling how people – the young, especially – still find it hard to connect to others, to expand their knowledge and perspective and to identify what’s real and what’s not or what’s beneficial and what’s not.

People in this generation seem to be easily manipulated as they believe in what they see and hear, even without knowing the entirety of the story.

This problem is widely evident in social media – the very platform where people connect and share ideas, and in turn verify and confirm facts – nowadays. We all post just about anything, sometimes too random and irrational. We like and share the posts of others without trying to examine their truthfulness or sincerity, or its possible impact to society.

To give light to this dilemma, Thairath Foundation, in collaboration with the National Press Council of Thailand and the Online News Providers Association, gathered journalists from Thailand, Japan, India, Singapore and Southeast Asian nations for the “NIE in the Digital Age” conference in Bangkok, Thailand last week.

The chairman of National Press Council of Thailand, Mr Chavarong Limpattamapanee, noted that “the forum aims to collaborate with leading media organisations from Asean countries and Asia to share thier experiences in different projects they have taken in their own countries to encourage young generation to read news in both platforms – print and online.”

The “NIE (News in Education) in the Digital Age” focused on the use of social media and other online platforms to spread accurate and real information that affect the majority. With these information readily available, people can learn and use them for the benefit of the society.

The event was also part of the commemmoration of Mr Kampol Wachaparol’s UNESCO recognition.

Mr Kampol founded the Thai-language daily Thairath, which remains as the bestselling newspaper in Thailand since 1950. His dedication created a huge impact in the promotion of news in education and established a culture of news reading among Thais.

According to NIE expert from Norway, Jan Steen, there were already three Asean roundtable discussions on the matter – 2005, 2006 and 2008. But it had to temporarily stop due to lack of funding.

Mr Steen brought lots of information about the news consumption and media literacy of many countries around the world throughout his presentation. He shared that some newspapers give their papers for free or for discounted prices to students as a way to encourage them to read and be socially aware.

He raised that, “NIE helps student to develop a better understanding of their community and the world, cultivate critical thinking, reading and writing skills clarify and develop decision-making skills as well as improve math and problem-solving skills.”

Some of the media delegates also shared their own experiences and practices in journalism and their publications’ strategies to promote both print and online news.

All the delegates vowed to establish and maintain long-term cooperation to further promote NIE and responsible journalism.

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