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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The monitored as monitor

Martin Andanar
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Apparently unique in the Philippine press freedom regime, the practice of appointed and elected officials’ serving as newspaper columnists, or as television or radio commentators, blurs the necessary distinction between the government as object of public scrutiny, and the free press’ critical function of monitoring government. It creates a conflict of interest between the government’s and its officials’ interest in getting favorable publicity, and the citizenry’s need for impartial reports and evaluations of events and issues of concern including government doings and policies.

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The peace talks challenge to the media

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As peace negotiations are resumed between the Philippine government and the armed social movements that for decades have been fighting for autonomy or social change, accurate and reliable information on these conflicts has become an even more critical factor in citizen capacity to contribute to the resolution of, among others, the “Bangsamoro problem” and the 47-year guerrilla war being waged by the New People’s Army (NPA) under the joint leadership of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).

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