My Two Cents on Sharing Fake News and Plagiarism and Journalism

My friends who have been sharing fake news and confusing statuses with confusing memes have tasted some pieces of good advice from me to stop sharing them as they add to the confusion and conflict in this already crazy world we have. However, there are still some, who, despite their professional statuses, would continue sharing these things deliberately. To what reason or purpose, I do not know. But for me, it is disappointing and shows complete lack of tact, and probably an ignorance of their common sense, if they do have that.

Way before bloggers made their way in the government and/or political arena, I have been into blogging and worked in the publishing industry for eight years. Moreover, blogging has become a part of my food on the table, and I have also enjoyed perks that go along with the title "blogger". 

And then Mocha Uson and Sass Sasot came into the picture, and even more bloggers... and everything became blurry. They who have been sharing intriguing and controversial pictures, news, and even misquoted presidential pronouncement and posted their opinions on FB and who got the ire of many. These things make me cringe. 

But teaching our kids a little misdemeanor if only to satisfy our thirst for victory is a different story. 

In October, the daughter joined the Division Schools Press Conference after having been trained for countless Saturdays and Sundays. She competed for the Editorial Cartooning. She competed with 24 other elementary students from different schools in the city. She landed 5th place. I told her that it was okay for a first timer into the editorial cartooning competition and that landing 5th is not a bad thing. I even told her it was a challenge that she can do better next time.  

But what irked me are these. 

                        

                        

                        

                        

                        

The topic given the young journalists was: The Marawi Siege. And they have to draw their cartoons on what the present state of Marawi has been. The fifth picture shows my daughter's work. It was very simple, a work of an amateur, I should say.

I took these pictures immediately after they were posted. Only the First to Fifth Places were posted and were given recognition during the said event. I immediately showed it to the husband in order for him to take notice of her daughter's work as he can compare it with other artists' works, and how she landed on the 5th Place. 

Less than two minutes after I have sent these pictures to Ric via messenger and lo and behold, he sent me these: 

                                    


                                    


Look at the similarities of the drawing which landed on first and second places. One cannot deny that these cartoons have been copied, or the editorial cartoonists' idea may have been copied and put into art or drawing for that matter. One cannot deny that the cartoon made my Rene Aranda of the Philippine Star has been claimed to be the young artist's own and even won First and Second Places. 

I actually wonder what mode of verification/checking/validation was made by the judges to say that the works of the journalists won without plagiarism. Because clearly, these cartoons have been - by two young artists. Also, these artists have their mentors, so now I wonder what kind of Journalism lessons these mentors teach their proteges. 

Sure, one can take a look at pictures and get inspiration from them. But probably not to copy them and put them into art like it was them who conceptualized it in the first place. 

I am not griping because my daughter only landed on the Fifth Place. I can see that even on my first look at her drawings compared to the other cartoons. I immediately conceded. But looking at how the first two young artists landed places by taking concepts from previously released editorial cartoons of a professional, one who works with the Philippine Star is a different story.

In September 13, 2012, Dr. Isagani Cruz wrote this in Philippine Star:

"Section 198 (RA 8293) further provides that “the rights of an author under this chapter (Chapter 10) shall last during the lifetime of the author and for fifty (50) years after his death and shall not be assignable or subject to license.” If the author is still alive, I have no choice but to mention his or her name when I take words or ideas from him.
Why ideas? Because plagiarism does not involve only words. It also involves ideas. If I added or altered a word here or there, or even if all my words were different from those of the original author, I would still be committing plagiarism if the idea is the same. This is the main difference between copyright and plagiarism. Copyright protects the expression of an idea or the exact words of the original author. The prohibition against plagiarism protects the idea itself, no matter how it is expressed.
Therefore, using different words or even a different language but expressing the same ideas is plagiarism.
And I guess, the same is true with editorial cartooning.

So, are these the values we teach our young journalists? Is this the way we transform our young writers and journalists? Is this the future of Journalism in this country? If so, then, good luck Philippines!  

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