The 2023 Webinar Series opened on January 26 with a discussion on “Countering Disinformation in the Americas” featuring guest speaker Ambassador John Feeley, Executive Director for the Center for Media Integrity of the Americas (CMIA). WJPC professor Celina Realuyo moderated this event which was attended by over 440 participants from 29 countries. Ambassador Feeley explained how disinformation can worsen political polarization and provided a comprehensive look at a variety of factors wherein digital communication and digital media become a means to confuse and spread disinformation to governments and the public. The ambassador advised, “We are adults and can choose what news outlets to believe.” He also warned to be on the lookout for “alternative facts” and provided ideas on what can be done to fight disinformation. He noted the important roles of media outlets, digital consumers, digital literacy, algorithms, fact-checking companies, and “digital addiction.”
This event was followed by a post-webinar discussion session hosted and moderated by the WJPC Honduras Alumni chapter which allowed for a dynamic and diverse exchange among the nearly 90 participants from across Latin America.