By Peter Tase
In early September 2020, Prof. Dr. Benjamín Fernández Bogado has been invited to deliver a keynote speech at the World Journalists Conference 2020, scheduled for September 14 – 16, 2020. The following is the keynote address that Dr. Fernández Bogado has delivered to this prestigious conference in Seoul, Republic of Korea. In this global conference Dr. Fernández Bogado, Paraguay’s most influential contemporary philosopher and public speaker, is the only keynote speaker from South America. Dr. Fernandez Bogado’s speech is entitled: “FAKE NEWS A GREAT OPPORTUNITY TO REINVENT REAL JOURNALISM”, the following is his full statement.
“We are living in a world where everyone believes being a journalist or informant is just because he or she has a phone in their hands. In a moment where millions of people are interconnected through social networking some people found a mine of information that gives them an opportunity to manipulate, lie or invent news. Journalism is a professional activity created to confront that kind of activities so we have a great opportunity to go against fake news using our tools of contrasting, looking, comparing and resuming news in order to offer our readers, listeners and viewers a real perspective of the reality.
It is a great moment for us to the best journalist that we can because people are looking and paying for good examples of journalism. In my country, Paraguay, two new newspapers (5dias and El Independiente) that belong to our group went to the market in the last decade when everyone had believed that was a kind of financial suicide. On the contrary, with a good quality of writing, excellent stories to tell…we were very successful in the market. In the Radio Libre, we decided to connect with people daily giving them a possibility to understand news from a different perspective. Again, a good journalist who leads this kind of talk show is absolutely essential to understand political, economic and public health news.
People are now more aware of take news and starting to look for good examples of real journalism that gives us a great opportunity to reinvent our professional activity. We will need more capacity to understand culture events and to link each other and more than that to communicate people about. John Dewey used to says: community plus communication is equal to democracy.
Political interests find fake news as a tool to manipulate people on their own interest and that gives us as journalists a great opportunity to be close to the people. We were accused to be a little far away from people interest and too close to the corporative and political ones, now it is the occasion to revert that perspective using journalist tools and knowledge as a resources on behalf of the people. To get the best we need to have a broad perspective in order to link economics news with political or social ones. It will be very important to have the capacity to see broad perspectives and link each other. The so-called interdisciplinary perspective will be key instruments on journalists’ quality ahead.
Internet is a very useful resource for investigative journalism, but we need to be careful about news which are posted for people who used trolls to disseminate fake news and are paid for that. Political electoral moments are also very sensitive moments to checks news and avoid being used by people whose only purpose is to lie or manipulate. We have many cases around the world related to these cases and real journalism is the last barrier of lying.
Also fake news give us the possibility to develop a department in our newsroom in order to exhibit our readers who are people manipulating us with fake news.
We need to show that real journalism is supporting freedom of the press and freedom o expression and if we want to ensure these key elements for democracy. Fake news is a kind of virus that need a vaccine of professionalism, realism and true.
If we want a strong democracy and to preserve freedom, permanent vigilant attitude is key in order to get and maintain that condition but we need to understand how this new environment is developing and putting aside naïve attitude and contrasting with a smart and intelligent position.
We have new players on the information arena but again good journalism is called to inform reality with knowledge and compromise. School of communication needs to understand this new reality training future journalist with tools and responsibility toward citizen who do not want to return to the idiot´s condition. (illota in Greek was the people who just think and act in their interest). Democracy and freedom need a courageous, intelligent and well aware journalists in dealing with these new realities and to open up this fight it will require strength and commitment indeed.” –
- Benjamín Fernández Bogado is a Doctor in Laws and has conducted post graduate courses in Syracuse University, University of Oxford, and the University of Minnesota. He was a Harvard University fellow twice, including a Nieman Fellowship (2000). He was the president of the American University in Asunción; is the founder and director of Radio Libre and 5Dias and El Independiente national newspapers in Paraguay. He is the author of more than 10 books on communication, law, democracy, and public policies. Fernandez’s last book is: “El jardin pandémico” (2020) a political essay on how the world is facing the ongoing public health pandemic. It is possible to purchase on Amazon.