Truth-telling and accuracy are the fundamental ethical and professional commitments of the alternative press and media in furtherance of the people’s right to know. Truth telling is crucial to the journalistic task of developing among the media audiences the subjective readiness for the changes in society that objective reality so patently demonstrates are needed. Precisely because those in the alternative media are so engaged, they have been harassed, threatened, physically assaulted, and red-baited.
The Parliament of Singapore passed last May a law against uploading and spreading false information. It requires online media platforms any government ministry accuses of carrying “fake news” to correct or remove the offending material, and penalizes those responsible with 10-year prison terms and fines of up to one million Singapore dollars (about US$740,000). The bad news is that the Philippine Congress could do the same thing.
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.
Now on its 26th year in the Philippines — March 29, 2019 marked the 25th year since the country was “wired” into it — the global communication network known as the Internet has been rightly hailed as another milestone in providing the perennial human need for information.
His attacks on the press are “repulsive,” and “he should be the figure of suspicion, not the press,” when it comes to “fake news.” A president who “constantly deflects and distorts and distracts — who must find someone else to blame — is charting a very dangerous path.”