Worse than the disease

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The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) and the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR) have launched an online means of identifying and guarding against the spread of fake news. They’re using Fakeblok, the Google Chrome plug-in which flags fake news on Facebook. This enterprise is in addition to efforts by some media organizations to fact-check the statements of news sources and to closely monitor their own reports.

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Winning hearts and minds

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Some critics of United States global policy say that the US not only supports the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS); it also created it (see, for example, www.global research.ca). Although that claim was hooted down as part of his disinformation campaign, Donald Trump said the same thing during the US presidential elections last year, when he said that ISIS is a creation of the Barack Obama administration.

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Terrorism as communication

House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez
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House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez is quite right. To be of any use, any discussion or debate on terrorism and terrorists — specifically to determine if an incident in which dozens of people are killed is an act of terrorism or not — can only be meaningful if the discussants are talking about the same thing. That can happen only if everyone in the conversation agrees on a definition of what terrorism or a terrorist is.

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The past in the present

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If those who fear martial law are “living in the past,” it is because much of that past, with or without martial law, is still very much in the present. Human rights defenders are still under threat, and farmer leaders, indigenous people, protesters and political activists harassed and even killed, even as a brutal “war on drugs” that presumes guilt rather than innocence continues to claim dozens of lives every week at the hands of a police force emboldened by President Rodrigo Duterte’s frequent assurances of impunity, or exemption from punishment.

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