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The importance of combating misinformation in our daily activities through media literacy
July 22, 2019

a person speaking to a group of people
Teaching others about misinformation is an obligation in today’s world. Participants engage at a media literacy conference hosted by Japhé.

By Japhé Mercier

As an economist, entrepreneur and young social activist, I always face misinformation in my work field. It’s one of my biggest issues. Quite often one is much more destructive or dangerous than the other, but I’m not living to let negative things such as misinformation affect my image, nor any of my activities, nor let it take them down. I know it’s hard work, but I am determined to keep fighting against misinformation in my work through media literacy, just to minimize as much as possible the negative impact it could have on me personally as well as on my everyday activities.

What is misinformation?

Misinformation is false or inaccurate information, especially when it is deliberately intended to deceive.

Who is able to spread the misinformation?

Anyone using social media, reading a newspaper, listening to the radio, or watching television may intentionally or unintentionally share misinformation. Using a trendy phone, laptop or tablet doesn’t automatically give you the right to share everything you want to share.

Why is misinformation dangerous?

Misinformation is dangerous because it can cause someone to die, tarnish the image of another, or shake up a lot of hard work. It is important to be aware of the danger of misinformation in the world today. I told myself that the best way to fight against misinformation in Haiti is to educate as many people as possible about media literacy. I always try to identify and prevent the spread of misinformation in order to create an environment of trust for my business partners, my friends, as well as my social activities. I decided to use Facebook, Twitter and Whatsapp as instruments for a massive media literacy education. I also developed some conferences in my community to educate as many people as possible, since it is better to be informed than to be misinformed.

In economics, politics, business, and many other fields, one of the most important things is information, because it allows you to make decisions. Imagine an institution in which decision-makers do not know the importance of verifying the information they receive every day before using or sharing it. Misinformation can cause a lot of damage to the company’s image and its relationships with suppliers and/or customers.

It is very important to be an active spectator, an autonomous explorer, and a media communicator. Personally, it allows me to have critical ideas about the information that I consume and I share. Before sharing anything, I make sure to stop and think, and I always check the information in order to share responsibly. I teach people in my community and on social media to always “Stop, Reflect, and Verify” before sharing any kind of information. Misinformation can be a serious concern for our world, our country, our city, our community, our image and our reputation if we do not stand to address it and keep fighting against it. So before you quickly press the share button on that next article you read, share responsibly, and “Stop, Reflect, and Verify!

Japhé MercierJaphé Mercier from Haiti is an economist, entrepreneur, and social activist. Japhé has been a YLAI Network member since 2017. He is very passionate about involving more people to make a difference in Haiti and also very determined to fight against misinformation.

The views and opinions expressed here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the YLAI Network or the U.S. government.