2014 Marshall McLuhan Fellow Speaks About the Influence of Social Media on Coming Elections in Her Country


Responsible media. Cheche Lazaro speaks during a forum on responsible media at the USJ-R main campus auditorium. (Sunstar foto/Arni Aclao)

SOCIAL media and citizen journalism will play a crucial role in the 2016 elections, a veteran journalist said yesterday.

Award-winning journalist Cheche Lazaro, however, said that while there are laws that govern the proper use of social media, there is still a need to self-regulate citizen journalists from posting content that would cause controversy.

Speaking before the journalism and mass communication students at the University of San Jose-Recoletos (USJ-R) yesterday, Lazaro said that the 2016 polls will serve as an “acid test” for social media on whether it could actually achieve change in the country.

Lazaro, who was awarded with the prestigious Marshall McLuhan Fellowship from the Canadian Embassy last year, spoke of how the social media has changed the traditional forms of media.

“Social media has rewired our brains to the point of addiction,” said Lazaro.

She said that with the popularity of the social media, it also gave rise to citizen journalists and “pseudo-journalists” who post information without knowing the consequences of what they are publishing online.

But with more citizen journalists using the social media, traditional media must serve its role in vetting out the information being published by the former, said Lazaro.

She said that while the constitutional freedom of speech remains, there are laws, such as the Anti-Cybercrime Law, that shields persons from being victimized by pseudo-journalists that use social media as an outlet to commit crimes, such as cyber-bullying.

Lazaro said that with the social media effectively changing the traditional forms, such as print and television, the journalists are also changing because of it.

Citizen journalists became the products of the social media’s integration with traditional media, Lazaro added.

Aside from being the 2014 Marshall McLuhan fellow, Lazaro received numerous accolades for her investigative journalism programs on television. (Source: http://tinyurl.com/kpgylv4 )

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