Sotto files bill to fight fake news
Through a press release, the Senate of the Philippines announced that Senate President Vicente Sotto III has filed an anti-fake news bill.
The anti-fake news bill, filed by Sotto as Senate Bill No. 9, seeks to eliminate fake news on online platforms by holding individuals who spread malicious information criminally liable. He stated that,
“Filipinos have fallen prey to believing most of the click-baits, made up quotes attributed to prominent figures and digitally altered photos. This bill seeks to protect the public from the adverse effects of false and deceiving content online. It also seeks to promote the responsible use of the internet.”
Under the proposed bill, the violations and their penalties are as follows:
- Any individual found guilty of creating fake information and misleading the public shall be punished with imprisonment, or fined PHP 300,000, or both.
- Individuals using fake accounts or creating websites to publish false information shall face imprisonment and/or a fine of not more than P500,000 or both.
- Any individual who provided their expertise to create and publish content to intentionally deceive the public, for profit or not, shall be imprisoned and/or slapped with a fine of P200,000 or both.
- Financing an activity which has for its purpose the creation or publication of online sites containing false information face imprisonment and/or a fine not exceeding P1,000,000 or both.
- Any individual who does not comply with the government’s takedown order of the misleading content, issue necessary corrections, or block user access to its websites and social media platforms face imprisonment and/or a P2,000,000 fine or both.
Sotto added that once the bill passes into law, the Department of Justice (DOJ)’s Cybercrime Division will have the authority to issue the rectification order, takedown order or block access order. The Cybercrime Division of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) will be the ones to enforce the provisions of the Act.