A House resolution was filed Monday urging the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to suspend the operation of Sonshine Media Network Inc. (SMNI) for peddling false information.
Resolution 1499, authored by House Assistant Majority Leader and PBA party-list Rep. Margarita Nograles, accused SMNI of failing to fulfill its mandate to the public when it aired false information regarding the alleged travel expenses of Speaker Martin Romualdez.
SMNI anchor Jeffrey Celiz, one of the hosts of Laban Kasama ng Bayan, admitted the source of his report on the P1.8 billion travel expenses claim was “wrong and was not validated,” according to the resolution.
“Whereas, with the admission that the source of information was wrong and that the information was not vetted, in addition to the various complaints filed against SMNI for fake news peddling and red-tagging, it is clear that the SMNI violated its responsibility to the public not to use its stations or facilities for the deliberate dissemination of false information o willful misrepresentation to the detriment of the public interest,” the resolution read.
“Pending the recommendation of the Committee on Legislative Franchises on the alleged violations of SMNI, it is the duty of NTC to immediately stop the deliberate dissemination of false information that may generate cynicism and mistrust on matters involving public interest,” Nograles said.
The House committee on legislative franchises, chaired Parañaque City Rep. Gus Tambunting, will hold its second hearing on SMNI’s alleged violations today (Tuesday).
Tambunting earlier said fake news has no place in modern Philippine society as he cited the need for media practitioners to exercise prudence in performing their duties and responsibilities.
Romualdez, for his part, joined the of Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri in wanting to unmask the source of Celiz.
“He said [it was a male Senate employee]. Why don’t we press those witnesses or resource persons to identify the supposed Senate employees so that the Senate President can deal with them severely,” Romualdez said in an interview with reporters.