Palace: Spread of fake news a ‘serious matter’

Office of the Press Secretary officer-in-charge and Undersecretary Cheloy Garafil on Wednesday described the proliferation of fake news in the country as a “serious matter” that needs to be dealt with by the government.

In a Palace press briefing, Garafil said she is looking into implementing programs to combat the spread of fake news after private pollster Pulse Asia found that nine out of 10 Filipinos consider fake news as a problem in the Philippines.

“Ito po ay isang seryosong bagay na tututukan ng OPS. Kaya ngayon, meron kaming mga programa na ili-lay down in the coming days,” said Garafil, a journalist-turned-lawyer.

“We’ll let you know kasi gusto rin talaga natin na ma-address itong mga problema ng fake news,” she added.

In the survey conducted from 17 to 21 September, at least 86 percent of 1,200 adult Filipinos surveyed agreed that fake news is a problem.

The sentiment was more pronounced in Metro Manila (87 percent) and the rest of Luzon (92 percent) than in the Visayas (77 percent) and Mindanao (81 percent).

The majority considered social media (68 percent) or television (67 percent) as their sources of fake news, followed by radio (32 percent) and friends or acquaintances (28 percent).

More than half (58 percent) are convinced that “social media influencers, bloggers, and/or vloggers” are responsible for spreading politics-related fake news.

President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. has urged communication experts to fight fake news by using their voices to “leverage positive communication in stirring the nation towards full recovery and lasting unity.”

Former Press Secretary Press Secretary Trixie Cruz Angeles, who resigned early this month, has expressed that OPS was ready to cooperate with lawmakers in crafting a measure to combat false information online.

From a personal point-of-view, Angeles believed improving literacy among Filipinos would help them become more discerning when they are exposed to a piece of information online.

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