To discourage people from spreading “fake news,” Senator Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada said he is pushing for the criminalization of the act of spreading false or misleading news.
“Click baits, propaganda, and manipulation of legitimate news segments to deliberately online falsehoods, false news or disinformation are so common nowadays, making it difficult to distinguish which is actual news to a fake one,” Estrada said.
In introducing Senate Bill No. 1296, the senator said the legislative measure hopes to put to stop the proliferation of disinformation and misinformation on the internet by criminalizing fake news as a cybercrime under Republic Act No. 10175, otherwise known as the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012.
Estrada proposed an amendment to Section 3 of RA 10175, to include “fake news” in the definition of terms and its inclusion in Section 4 on the list of cybercrime offenses.
In his proposed SBN 1296, “fake news refers to misinformation and disinformation of stories, facts, and news which is presented as a fact, the veracity of which cannot be confirmed, with the purpose of distorting the truth and misleading its audience.”
As an offense, Estrada’s bill said the “creation and dissemination of fake news committed through a computer system or any other similar means which may be devised in the future.”
Even surveys showed that the majority of Filipinos already find it difficult to spot fake news on television, radio, and social media, the senator said, citing the results of the Social Weather Stations (SWS) conducted in December 2021 and released in February this year.
An SWS survey showed that 70% or seven out of 10 adult Filipinos said that the problem of fake news and its spread on the internet is serious.
The National Capital Region Police Office on Thursday meanwhile reiterated its call on the public to be wary of fake news and other misinformation about crime incidents circulating on social media and warned that such act is punishable by law.
NCRPO director Brig. Gen. Jonnel Estomo appealed to the public to be more careful in posting unverified reports or complaints to avoid false accusations and put the police force, and the country as well, in a bad light.
Estomo made the appeal after the Quezon City Police District investigated the viral information online about a “chop chop” victim that turned out to be negative.
The QCPD, in coordination with Anti-Cybercrime Group, is now investigating the person behind the alleged spreader of this “fake news.”
The NCRPO stated that spreading lies would only cause panic among the people and would not help the authorities. Spreading false information carries the penalty of imprisonment from six months and one day to six years. With Joel E. Zurbano