Laws vs. fake news may be used to silence journalists –NUJP

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) has expressed reservations about legislating measures to address fake news as this might be used to silence journalists.

NUJP Chairperson Jonathan de Santos warned senators of this, citing the law on libel and Bayanihan to Heal as One Act.

“May kaunti lang po kaming agam-agam sa pag-address ng fake news through legislation dahil nakita rin naman po natin ang ating mga batas katulad ng libel at yung Bayanihan to Heal as One Act na nagamit po, unfortunately, sa pagpapatahimik ng ilang mga mamahayag at ng ilang mga tao on social media,” De Santos said at a Senate hearing on the proliferation of “fake news.”

While he made the warning, the NUJP chairperson said the NUJP joined the Senate in its bid to address the problem of disinformation and misinformation.

De Santos expressed confidence that the Senate committee on public information and mass media would push for amendments to the Cybercrime Prevention Act which would protect and uphold freedom of the press and freedom of speech.

“Umaasa po kami at nagtitiwala po kami na ang committee na ito ay magtutulak ng mga pag-aamyenda sa Cybercrime Prevention Act na kikilala at dedepensa sa kalayaan ng pamamahayag at sa kalayaan sa pananalita,” De Santos said.

The Senate panel did not discuss further the points raised by the NUJP.

Senator Robin Padilla, chairman of the Senate committee on public information and mass media, led the hearing on his resolution which called for the adoption of an inter-agency approach in the formulation of policies against the proliferation and spread of false information or “fake news.”

The hearing was conducted with the end view of proposing amendments to Republic Act 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012. –NB, GMA Integrated News

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