Singapore passed early last May an anti-“fake news” law that will be implemented this month. The “Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation” Act gives government the power to compel online news sites and even chat groups to remove statements “against the public interest” and to correct them. Not only individuals will be affected but also social media and news organizations like BBC and Reuters.
Journalism students should look at government radio’s Erwin Tulfo’s reaction when he failed to immediately get an interview with Department of Social Welfare and Development Secretary Rolando Bautista — he threatened to slap the retired Army general and even called him crazy — as an example of how those seeking interviews should never behave.
The way the Philippine Party List System has worked since it was created by the 1987 Constitution to assure “proportional representation” in the House of Representatives, and the Party List Act (Republic Act 7941) passed in 1994, has provoked even the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to consider asking Congress to amend the law. But it is unlikely that that body will do so — at least not towards making it truly serve the voiceless and marginalized sectors of Philippine society.
The problematic — and for many Filipinos, depressingly predictable — results of the May 13 senatorial elections have provoked the usual mini-debate on whether the mass of the electorate is really so stupid as to vote against their own interests. They have after all elected, among others, accused plunderers, liars, supporters of tyrannical rule, opportunists, enforcers of extrajudicial killings, and, in general, the yes-men and chorus line of the Duterte regime.
The protracted democratization process began during the reform and revolutionary periods of Philippine history, but was derailed and interrupted by both US conquest as well as by the treachery of the rural gentry that had hijacked the Revolution.