Issue of March 26, 2017
Mt. Province

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SC justice claims books, not social media empower youth
by Ofelia C. Empian

SOURCE OF INSPIRATION -- Baguio's very own Supreme Court Associate Justice Marvic Mario Victor Leonen (2nd from left) empowered students who were his main audience in his talk on “The interplay of the law and the media and the exercise of the freedom of expression in today’s setting” at the University of the Cordilleras last week. UC OIC President Ray Dean Salvosa, UC College of Law Dean Atty. Reynaldo Agranzamendez and Atty. Renato Rondez welcomed him before his talk. -- Ofelia Empian



Supreme Court Associate Justice Marvic Mario Victor Leonen has encouraged students to empower themselves by reading books and creating meaningful conversations outside of social media that could help shape their critical thinking.

Speaking in a forum, “The interplay of the law and the media and the exercise of the freedom of expression in today’s setting,” at the University of the Cordilleras, Leonen said critical thinking is needed in today’s generation, especially with lots of genuine and fake information in the social media platform.

The symposium is part of the Benjamin Romero Salvosa Lecture Series organized by the university’s College of Law.

The Baguio boy Leonen said being critical of Facebook posts and tweets is important so as not to be misled by unreliable sour-ces. He reminded the students, teachers, and guests to always verify and check the sources of information before believing them and eventually sharing them on social media.

“Look at the credibility of the source. If you cannot trace the source then don’t believe in it. You have to be able to know who actually said it, and by the way, just because it was retweeted or tweeted does not mean that it is already a credible source,” Leonen said.

He said being equipped with the right critical thinking skills is needed especially with the presence of social media where various propaganda and half-truths are being widely circulated.

“Therefore your most powerful weapon being in the academe and because you are going to be lawyers and professionals in your own right – your most powerful weapon is to be contrarian, to be critical, to be a person that can carry a conversation. This is what I noticed; many younger people nowadays cannot carry a conversation. Therefore one antidote, find a friend. Not a Facebook friend, a real friend,” he said.

Leonen said one of the best ways to equip one’s self against misinformation is to read, and not just any book, but materials about culture, legal philosophy, the concept of media and culture, challenge of the hegemony or leadership, and the challenge of the dominant culture, among others.

“Read a book, and when you read a book, choose a book that would really make you think,” he said.

The SC associate justice added that fostering the value of critical thinking will change the way the public elects those in power.

“The more that our youth moves beyond social media, beyond the tweet, beyond the Facebook posts and start to read books, the more chances that we have that in the future we will not have these wings of government. Suddenly very liberal, suddenly very conservative, suddenly very pro people, suddenly very pro law and order, and so on and so forth,” he said.

“I think we have to accept that democracy, genuine democracy is a slow birth, in other words, we have to start with our own selves and then our community, in our schools to try to bring back the critical attitude that we have,” he added.

Leonen, the youngest appointed Supreme Court justice, upon sharing that his road to the High Tribubal was not easy, encouraged the students to do their best in their chosen fields.

“Attend to our people, do our part, read. Be the best versions of who you are. In terms of your profession, in terms of your ability to be active citizens,” he said.

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