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Anti-fake news bill may affect freedom of expression—solon

By: - Reporter / @deejayapINQ
/ 02:25 PM June 23, 2017

Bayan Muna Partylist Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate (INQUIRER FILE PHOTO)

The broad scope of the anti-fake news bill “may infringe on the people’s constitutionally guaranteed freedom of expression,” a Makabayan lawmaker said on Friday.

Expressing “serious reservations” about the bill seeking to penalize people who spread false information with hefty fines and prison terms, Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate said he did not believe such a measure was the correct solution to the proliferation of fake news.

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“While the proliferation of fake news and online misinformation has to be addressed decisively, we submit that criminalizing it is not the way forward,” he said in a statement,

Zarate, author of a bill decriminalizing the crime of libel, said a better solution was to ensure an enlightened citizenry.

“What can be done to address fake news is for mainstream and social media practitioners to be objective in reporting events and for Congress to fast track the passage of the Freedom of Information (FOI) bill for the Filipino people to know what is truly happening in the country,” he said.

“The best way to counter fake news is for the people to be well informed of accurate facts,” Zarate said.

The leftist congressman said fake news was “nothing new in the Philippine context,” as it was done by Spaniards and the American forces in branding Katipuneros as bandits and brigands.

“They also peddled fake news saying that they came to the Philippines to make us civilized, but just used our country as a source of raw materials, cheap and docile labor and dumping ground of their surplus products. In short they plundered our country but said that it is for our own good,” he said.

“This is also what (Emilio) Aguinaldo and (Ferdinand) Marcos used to justify their actions against the people and in eliminating their critics. As it is, fake news creates false and distorted history that up till now has to be corrected,” he said. JPV/rga

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TAGS: Anti-fake news bill, Bayan Muna congressman, Carlos Zarate, FOI Bill
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