Youth with Opposing Political Views Join Together to Fight Disinformation

When a study found that most Malaysian youth believe political parties spread propaganda, they put aside differences to address the problem

Earlier this year, Internews conducted Malaysia’s first Information Ecosystem Assessment (IEA) which revealed a high level of distrust of politicians by youth, as well as a need for media literacy and a strategy for fighting dis- and mis-information. Although 74% of respondents identified digital media as their most popular source of information, only 35% deemed it as trustworthy.

To bring youth together to tackle these issues, NGOHub, Internews’ partner in Malaysia, conducted a series of workshops.

The first workshop: Bengkel Literasi Media: Yang Mana Benar? (Which One is The Truth?) was held virtually for 32 youths and discussed topics such as the threat of misinformation, mal-information, and disinformation in current issues, politics, and pop culture; and how youth can help their peers become media literate. Through quizzes, participants learned practical skills and tools to identify false information.

Screenshot of an Instagram post with photo of a young man.
Anwar Mohdnor says, “Why media literacy matters? Hi Everyone! In this video, I would like to share with you guys on the importance of media literacy and some inputs from the media literacy workshop that I have joined recently. Am sorry for a lil bit of the stuttering tho haha.

The participants produced short videos that demonstrated their increased knowledge about “information disorder.” Watch the five winning videos on NGOHub’s Facebook and LinkedIn pages.

Don’t fight! Youth discuss politics and find common ground

Another workshop called Bengkel Literasi Media: Jangan Gaduh! (Media Literacy Workshop: Don’t Fight!) brought together 15 young leaders of political parties from all sides of the Malaysian political spectrum. Participants, who were grouped with those who held opposing views, engaged in discussions about some of the more divisive and polarizing political topics, such as Teaching Science and Mathematics in English.

At the end of the workshop, the young leaders, from the most conservative Malay-party (UMNO) to Malaysia Socialist Party (PSM), reflected that they actually share more common ground than they thought, and planned to have more evidence-based discussions with their counterparts in the future.

“When talking about changing mindset, sometimes we need to process the thought a bit first,” said one participant. “But definitely, I can tell you, there is a lot of new information and new ideology from beautiful minds that I get from this workshop.”