The Palace on Wednesday said it would announce programs against fake news in the coming days after a Pulse Asia survey showed this was a problem for nine out of 10 Filipinos.
“This is a serious issue that the OPS will closely monitor,” said Office of the Press Secretary officer-in-charge Cheloy Garafil. “This is why we have programs that we will lay down in the coming days because we also want to address this problem of fake news.”
Results of the survey, conducted between Sept. 17 and Sept. 21, also showed that 58 percent o the respondents believed that social media influencers, bloggers, or vloggers were the top peddlers of fake news about government and politics. Forty percent blamed journalists, and 37 percent pointed to national level politicians.
Senators Jinggoy Estrada and Nancy Binay described as “disturbing” the results of the latest Pulse Asia survey.
“Misinformation and disinformation should be taken seriously. Those behind it should be held accountable for their actions,” Estrada said.
“We should not allow irresponsible news and information to prevail because it will result in wrong decisions and opinions,” he added.
Binay said social media as the vehicle upon which fake news and false information are widely and exponentially disseminated.
She said people now rely on social media on a constant basis for information, news, entertainment, research, inspiration and guidance, and even for personal relationships.
She said it was easy to be overwhelmed, but said new legislation was not necessary because the Constitution guarantees free speech.
“It would be ironic if we regulate or restrict speech or other expression because we have different opinions and views,” she said.
But Estrada has proposed making it a crime to spread fake news through his Senate Bill No. 1296.
“Bad decisions affect public interest, safety, order, and people’s lives. And bad choices stemming from false information cost money and unnecessary wastage of precious human, natural, financial, and time resources,” Estrada said.
While the Constitution guarantees free speech and freedom of the press, he said this should not be abused.
“It’s the duty of every Filipino to contribute to the development and welfare of the country, to uphold and obey the laws,” he said.
Estrada noted the platforms in which fake news is peddled to the public, as well as the role of social media influencers, bloggers and vloggers in the spread of disinformation in the country, as shown by the survey.
“This is the reason why we intend to establish a policy to provide our citizens with a means for their protection from online falsehood and manipulation. We hope to stop the proliferation of disinformation and misinformation on the internet by criminalizing fake news as a cybercrime,” he said.