Senate bill aims to criminalize spreading fake news online

To discourage people from spreading “fake news”, Senator Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada said he was pushing for the criminalization of the act of spreading false or misleading news.

“Click baiting, propaganda and the manipulation of legitimate news segments for deliberate online lies, fake news or misinformation are so common these days, making it difficult to distinguish between real news and bad news. fake,” Estrada said.

Introducing Senate Bill 1296, the senator said the legislation hopes to end the proliferation of disinformation and misinformation on the internet by criminalizing fake news as a cybercrime under the law of Republic No. 10175, also known as the Cybercrime Prevention Act. 2012.

Estrada proposed an amendment to Section 3 of RA 10175, to include “fake news” in the definition of terms and its inclusion in Section 4 of the list of cybercrime offenses.

In its proposal for SBN 1296, “False news refers to misinformation and misinformation of stories, facts, and news that are presented as facts, the truthfulness of which cannot be confirmed, for the purpose of distorting the truth and to mislead his public”.

As an offence, Estrada’s bill qualified as “creating and disseminating false news committed through a computer system or any other similar means that may be devised in the future.”

Even surveys have shown that the majority of Filipinos already struggle to spot fake news on TV, radio and social media, the senator said, citing results from Social Weather Stations (SWS) conducted in December 2021 and published in February this year. .

An SWS survey showed that 70% or seven out of 10 adult Filipinos said the problem of fake news and its spread on the internet is serious.

The National Capital Region Police Bureau on Thursday reiterated its call for the public to beware of fake news and other misinformation about criminal incidents circulating on social media and warned that such an act is punishable by law. .

Director NCRPO Brig. General Jonnel Estomo called on the public to be more careful about publishing unverified reports or complaints to avoid false accusations and putting the police force, as well as the country, in a bad light.

Estomo appealed after the Quezon City Police District investigated viral reports online of a ‘chop chop’ victim which turned out to be negative.

The QCPD, in coordination with the anti-cybercrime group, is currently investigating the person behind the alleged broadcaster of this “fake news”.

The NCRPO said spreading lies would only cause panic among the population and would not help the authorities. The dissemination of false information is punishable by imprisonment from six months and one day to six years. With Joel E. Zurbano

Norman D. Briggs