(INQUIRER) MANILA, Philippines — For Senator Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada, it is “disturbing” that close to 90 percent of adult Filipinos believe fake news is a problem in the country as shown in the latest survey of Pulse Asia.
The same survey conducted from September 17-21 indicated that social media influencers, bloggers, and/or vloggers (58 percent) and journalists (40 percent) are the top peddlers of fake news.
“Misinformation and disinformation should be taken seriously. Those behind it should be held accountable for their actions. Hindi tama na hayaan nating lumaganap ang mga iresponsableng balita at impormasyon dahil ito ay magdudulot ng maling desisyon at opinion sa ating mga kababayan,” Estrada said in a statement on Wednesday.
(We should not let this happen at a time the country is facing a crisis.)
Estrada, who is proposing to criminalize the proliferation of fake news in the country through Senate Bill No. 1296, stressed that while the Constitution guarantees free speech and press, 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.
The senator also pointed out the platforms use and the role of social media influencers in the spread of disinformation in the country as shown in 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,” Estrada said.
“We hope to stop the proliferation of disinformation and misinformation on the internet by criminalizing fake news as a cybercrime,” he also said.
Estrada then urged the Senate to immediately tackle his bill to address the widespread proliferation of false information.
“Iba na ang panahon ngayon (Times are different now). With social media being the vehicle upon which fake news and false information are widely and exponentially disseminated, where people now rely on social media on a constant basis for information, news, entertainment, research, inspiration and guidance, and even for personal relationships, we cannot help but be overwhelmed by what we read and whether it’s true and credible,” he said.
“Hindi tama na panatilihin natin at palakihin natin ang kasalukuyang henerasyon ng mga Pilipino sa kultura ng fake news,” he further said.
(It is not right that we keep and raise the current generation of Filipinos in the culture of fake news.) – Maila Ager/ Inquirer