UN official asked: Probe use of trolls in spreading fake news

UN official asked: Probe use of trolls in spreading fake news

/ 05:25 AM January 24, 2024

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MANILA, Philippines — House Deputy Minority Leader France Castro on Tuesday urged visiting United Nations Special Rapporteur (SR) Irene Khan to look into the government’s alleged use of “trolls and anticommunist media outlets” to spread fake news.

“We are glad that UN SR Khan is here to look into the real situation of freedom of expression in the Philippines, especially considering the challenges faced by those who express dissent against the government,” said Castro, also the ACT Teachers party list representative.


Khan, the UN special rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression, is on a 10-day visit to the country until Feb. 2. She is also scheduled to visit the cities of Cebu, Tacloban and Baguio.


“There have been instances where individuals who voice out opposition are Red-tagged, harassed or even killed,” Castro said.

Several media groups also marched to the Department of Justice office in Manila on Tuesday to call for the immediate release of detained community journalist Frenchie Mae Cumpio.

The journalist from Tacloban City was charged with illegal possession of firearms, a nonbailable offense.

“The government is boasting that we have a vibrant democracy [here] and yet they cannot confirm if Irene Khan would be allowed to visit Frenchie in jail,” Raymund Villanueva, a Kodao Productions reporter and editor, said in an interview.

“If we will meet Ms Irene Khan in the next 10 days, we will just be telling her face-to-face everything that we have written,” Villanueva said.

‘Harassed farmers’

Several civil society organizations also want Khan to see past the government’s “rosy claims” and take notice of the state’s alleged harassment of activists.


“Often times, farmers and peasant organizations asserting their rights and welfare are subjected to one of most common forms of harassment—surveillance—carried out by state forces and even private entities such as land grabbers and companies,” farmers group Tanggol Magsasaka said in a statement.

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TAGS: fake news, trolls

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