Cong. LRay files bill vs fake news

PILI, Camarines Sur — Camarines Sur Rep. LRay Villafuerte is proposing a bill to penalize the creation and sharing of fake news.

In House Bill 6022 or "An Act Prohibiting the Creation and Distribution of Fake News," the following are penalized: the creation of fake news; dissemination; adding and abetting in the creation of fake news and the failure or refusal to retract or remove the fake news and issue an erratum.

The bill defines fake or out-of-context news as "misquotations, false and inaccurate reports including the editing audio and video bites which could result in the distortion of facts and contents."

The penalties include a fine of Php1 million for the first offense, Php2 million and suspension of the outlet or corporation for a week; and Php5 million fine and suspension for a month.

Meanwhile, a similar bill has been filed by Senator Joel Villanueva.

The Villanueva bill defines fake news as information that would damage the safety and welfare of the public and is likely to cause panic, chaos, violence or intends to exhibit propaganda that discredits reputations.

It would penalize those found guilty with a fine ranging from P100,000 to P500,000 and imprisonment from one year to 5 years.

"The aim is to encourage responsible and credible journalism, as well as creating awareness of the harmful effects of spreading untruthful facts. Misleading and deceptive news can cause divisiveness, health hazards, security risks, panic and chaos to this nation, contrary to our Constitutionally enshrined principle of adhering to a policy of peace and cooperation," Villafuerte said in the Explanatory Note of the bill.

"While the responsibility of discerning lie from truth falls with the person consuming the information, it is a moral duty of the State to protect its people from such lies in the first place. This bill aims the curb the existence of disreputable news sources and prevent established mass media outlets from careless publishing of unverified or false content," he added.