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Countering ‘fake news’

In connection to the proliferation of “fake news” in social media, Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Jose Ruperto Martin Andanar discussed during a press conference in Batangas last September 14 that a Roundtable Discussion on countering fake news and communicating right information was recently held by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) at the Seda Hotel in Quezon City.

“Noong sabado, we initiated a Fake News Roundtable Discussion. It’s the first time that it was ever organized in the ASEAN Region composing of the different Information Ministers of the 10 member states of the ASEAN,” Sec. Andanar said.

According to him, the 10 member states shared the situation of their countries, their practices in dealing with this concern, and the resolutions performed by each country to resolve and counter fake news.

“We all agreed, all the Ministers agreed, that fake news is a common problem – it is a huge challenge for every country,” he exclaimed.

The discussions revolved around this identified mutual concern and the Ministers talked about how they dealt with it respectively.

“Lahat ng mga solusyon na napag-usapan doon ay i-sa-summarize po ito ng ASEAN Secretariat and then we would release a joint statement in the next few weeks kung papaano natin i-counter yung fake news.”

Government on fake news

During the discussion, the Secretary was asked by the local media on how the government works on the problem of fake news, particularly in social media where some of the content is allegedly generated by the government as well.

“Number one, nais ko lang klaruhin yung (sinasabi ninyong) fake news na galing sa amin, kasi wala po namang fake news na galing sa gobyerno at hindi ho polisiya ng gobyerno na mayroong fake news,” he explicated.

The Secretary also clarified if social media sites not owned by the PCOO or government agencies, it is then not the government’s.

He said he supports the measures being recommended in the Senate and Congress to have an enclave of legislation discussion which so far has not happened yet.

Sec. Andanar resolved that one of the ways to counter fake news is to have a holistic approach that is anchored on media literacy by teaching the public, government, information officers, students and every stakeholder to identify fake news and fake source from not.

He also suggests that the media itself as an independent body, or a self-regulating body, police itself and separate the grain from the chaff – to distinguish legitimate media practitioners from those who are not.

He assured that the PCOO does not tolerate fake news and it follows the rule of law.

“In fact, may bagong ipinasa sa Konggreso na amendment penalizing those who spread fake news, I think, from 20,000 to a hundred thousand pesos,” he cited. (GG/JG, PIA4A)


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