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.
The newly elected president of the Senate has been accused of plagiarism, of disrespecting women, of cluelessness about the most pressing issues of public concern, and of ignorance of the Constitution.
During the debate on the Reproductive Health Bill, Vicente “Tito” Sotto III, who rose to his present exalted rank thanks to his credentials as a celebrity in a mindless noontime television program, used without proper attribution portions of someone else’s blog post in his speech against it, and translated for inclusion in it parts of a speech by Robert F. Kennedy.
Dozens of Philippine bloggers, and academics from the Ateneo de Manila University, De La Salle University and the University of the Philippines, have filed an ethics complaint against Senate Majority Floor Leader Vicente Sotto III for plagiarism.
The complaint came at about the same time that the Senate received a letter from Kerry Kennedy, daughter of the late former US Attorney General Robert Kennedy, who was also the brother of former US President John F. Kennedy, demanding an apology from Sotto for passing off as his own, portions of a speech Robert Kennedy delivered in 1966. US blogger Sarah Pope has also declared her intention to file a similar complaint, for Sotto’s use of her blog posts in the course of his arguing against the passage of the Reproductive Health bill.