Bill seeks punishment for spread of fake news
By Azer N. Parrocha
MANILA (Philippines News Agency) — A bill was filed Thursday seeking to penalize any person or entity who maliciously offer, publish, distribute, circulate, and spread false news or information in print, broadcast or online media.
Under Senate Bill No. 1492, or An Act Penalizing the Malicious Distribution of False News and Other Related Violations, Sen. Joel Villanueva defined false news or information as those which either intend to cause panic, division, chaos, violence, and hate, or those which exhibit a propaganda to blacken or discredit one’s reputation.
“The effect of fake news should not be taken lightly. Fake news creates impression and beliefs based on false premises leading to division, misunderstanding and further exacerbating otherwise strenuous relations,” Villanueva said in a statement.
Villanueva said that the proliferation of fake news should not be tolerated especially when the public interest was at stake, stressing that he wanted stiffer penalties for public officials as well.
He said that the passage of this bill would encourage citizens, especially public officers, to be more responsible and circumspect in creating, distributing and/or sharing news.
Villanueva’s measure states that any person who will be proven guilty of malicious creation and distribution of false news will face a fine ranging from PHP 100,000 to PHP 5,000,000 and imprisonment ranging from 1 to 5 years.
“If the offender is a public official, he or she will be made to pay twice the said amount of fine, and twice the period of imprisonment; and absolute disqualification from holding any public office,” Villanueva’s measure said.
The measure also stated that if a violator was proven to have aided and encouraged the malicious creation and distribution of fake news, he or she will be slapped with a fine ranging from PHP 50,000 to PHP 3,000,000 and imprisonment ranging from 6 months to 3 years.
Moreover, a public official guilty of the said act will be meted out with twice the amount of fine and will have to serve twice the said period of imprisonment; and absolute disqualification from holding any public office.
Any mass media enterprise or social media platform that fails, neglects, or refuses to remove false news will also be penalized with a fine ranging from PHP 10,000,000 to PHP 20,000,000 and imprisonment ranging from 10 to 20 years. (PNA)