Anti-fake news bill may also target 'trolls' - Sotto

Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 15 2019 05:56 PM

MANILA - Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III on Monday said “trolls” and “keyboard warriors” may also be held liable under a bill punishing “false content” that he is pushing in the upcoming 18th Congress.

Sotto recently filed Senate Bill No. 9 which punishes the creation or publishing of “false” information and allows the Department of Justice to order its takedown.

“If it’s fake, if it’s demeaning, ruining the reputation of people, then they are included,” Sotto told reporters when asked if the bill might also go after trolls in social media.

Sotto, who said he himself has been a victim of cyber-bullying, said he is pushing the bill because the spread of false information “has become a serious problem nationwide.”

“It destroys not only reputations but also institutions. We know what is fake news so we should give government the chance to remove it or ask the proper authorities to remove it,” Sotto said.

“What we are trying to achieve is those who would like to come up with news of their own through social media must follow ethics of journalists like you.”

Under the bill, anyone found guilty of knowingly creating or publishing false information shall be punished with imprisonment and/or a fine of not more than P300,000, or both.

Persons found guilty of using a fictitious online account or website in creating or publishing false information, meanwhile, may face imprisonment and/or a fine of not more than P500,000, or both.

Those who offered their services or expertise to create or publish false information may also be imprisoned and/or fined, or both.