‘Criminalize peddling of fake news’

Senator Jinggoy Estrada on Thursday pushed to criminalize the act of spreading false or misleading news online.

Estrada filed Senate Bill 1296 which aims to stop the proliferation of disinformation and misinformation on the Internet by criminalizing fake news as a cybercrime under Republic Act 10175, otherwise known as the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012.

“Click baits, propaganda, and manipulation of legitimate news segments to deliberately (peddle) online falsehoods, false news or disinformation are so common nowadays, making it difficult to distinguish actual news from fake ones. They are too acute,” Estrada said.

Estrada suggested changing Section 3 of RA 10175 to add “fake news” to the list of cybercrime charges in Section 4 and to include it in the definition of terms.

In his bill, he defined fake news as misinformation and disinformation of tales, facts, and news presented as facts, the veracity of which cannot be confirmed, with the purpose of distorting the truth.

The “creation and dissemination of fake news committed through a computer system or any other similar means which may be devised in the future” was defined as an offense under Estrada’s bill.

The senator cited a Social Weather Stations survey that the majority of Filipinos are finding it very difficult to recognize fake news on television, radio and social media.

According to the SWS survey, 70 percent of adult Filipinos, or seven out of ten, believe that the issue of fake news and its dissemination online is significant.

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