Vice President Jejomar C. Binay on Wednesday urged Catholics to teach themselves and the youth to be more discerning of information received through the Internet and use the medium to uphold Christian values.

“It is important to discern if what we receive via the borderless community is truthful, and brings us closer to what we were meant to be,” he said.

“For those in media, for us in government, and for citizens in all trades and professions, cyberspace is another arena where each one of us can live up to our Christian duties,” Binay said in his speech during the Catholic Mass Media Awards (CMMA) at the San Carlos Seminary in Makati.

“Whenever falsehoods are propagated as truth, let us bravely and charitably state what is true, regardless of whether it be popular or not,” Binay added.

Binay also stressed the great responsibility of media practitioners in ensuring the truthfulness of their work, in view of the influence they exert on the public.

“Your work and your decisions shape not just public opinion, but also the character of individuals. What you air or print is often accepted unquestionably as the truth by your subscribers and viewers,” he said.

He added that while media practitioners ensure truthfulness, they must also be ready to issue clarifications and make amends for errors done in transmitting information.

While digital media provide an array of education tools, Binay said there is a need to protect the young from the dangers posed by digital media. He also encouraged that parents should be as adept as their children at using modern devices in order to protect them.

Likewise, the Vice President cited the role of new media in rapidly organizing humanitarian activities, such as relief efforts, information dissemination during calamities, and in safeguarding democratic endeavors such as elections.

“During the most recent elections, the online community proved to be one of the speediest methods to report problems or successes in the field, thereby safeguarding the transparency and integrity of the polls,” he said.

Meanwhile, Binay noted that social media has made people “less social.”

“People are more likely to spend time on Farmville than on building personal ties, face to face, with other members of their households, schools and communities. Or on actual farming,” the Vice President said.

He warned that impersonal contact cannot substitute for the need for friendship and interaction. New means of communication should improve human value rather than diminish it, he added.