MANILA - Senator Grace Poe has filed a bill that seeks to bar government officials from spreading "fake news."
Senate Bill No. 1680 seeks to amend the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials in a bid to "uphold the accuracy, reliability, and truthfulness expected from government officials and employees.”
Poe, who chairs the Senate Committee on Public Information and Mass Media, said the bill highlights the need for government officials to maintain discipline in disseminating information and in giving their opinion on issues.
Under the proposed measure, government officials are prohibited from disseminating false information and from using his or her working hours in publishing personal opinion.
While the bill does not cover statements given during speeches or press conferences, the measure covers those that will be carried by a social media platform, or in print or broadcast forms.
"It is thereby the goal of this legislative measure to hold public officials to higher standards in the advent of the unavoidable continuous rise of the influence and internet penetration brought about by Social Media..." the senator said in the bill's explanatory note.
Poe had led the Senate inquiry into the spread of fake news, saying in one hearing that it "cultivates a culture of lying." She said disinformation also emboldens government officials to lie in order to escape accountability, crush dissent and commit illegal acts with impunity."
Read the full bill here: