REVILLA SET TO TACKLE ANTI-FAKE NEWS BILL
If his chairmanship of the Senate Committee on Public Information and Mass Media pushes through, Senator Ramon Bong Revilla, Jr. has expressed his readiness to immediately tackle and hear Senate Bill No. 9, the Anti-Fake News Bill, filed by Senate President Tito Sotto.
The bill grants the Office of Cybercrime of the Department of Justice the authority to issue rectification orders, takedown orders, and block-access orders. It tasks the Cybercrime Division of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to enforce the Act.
Under the proposed measure, any person found guilty of: (1) knowingly creating or publishing false information to mislead the public; (2) using a fictitious online account or website in creating or publishing false information to mislead the public; (3) knowingly offered or provided his/her expertise to create or publish content containing information to deceive the public, whether it is done for profit or not; (4) financing an activity for the purpose of creating or publishing of online sites containing false information; and (5) failure to comply with a lawful order to take down the content containing false information, issue necessary corrections, or block users' access to its websites and social media platforms; will face imprisonment or a fine or both.
"It is high time we establish a system of responsibility and accountability in new media," Revilla said. "The proliferation and spreading of fake news is a threat not only to political stability, but more importantly, to public and general welfare and national security," he added.
In tackling the proposed measure, the lawmaker stressed that the constitutional guarantees to freedom of speech, of expression, and of the press, shall be his utmost consideration. He assured that the measure to be crafted by the committee will not impinge on rights, and will instead, enhance and promote the exercise of these rights.
"These constitutional rights recognize and ensure the free exchange of ideas. Fake news distort and poison this free exchange by injecting falsehood and deception," the lawmaker explained. "It erodes the quality of the discussion and skews the conversation," he stressed. "We need to put a stop to this virus so that the exchange is healthy and strengthens democracy," Revilla ended.