MANILA - Journalists must fact-check news subjects' statements as it is part of their duty in informing the public, a media and law ethics professor said Thursday.
Lawyer Marichu Lambino cited as an example President Rodrigo Duterte's accusations against Vice President Leni Robredo, whom he said began the trend of #NasaanAngPangulo, a hashtag criticizing government's lack of disaster response. The Vice President has never tweeted with the hashtag.
"Kung hindi po natin 'to iwawasto, iisipin ng mga tao na ito ay totoo at nagiging tagakalat tayo ng mga kasinungalingan at ang tungkulin ng mga mamamahayag at magsiwalat ng katotohanan," she told ABS-CBN's Teleradyo.
(If we won't correct this, people will think this is the truth and we will be peddlers of lies. Journalists' job is to report and expose the truth.)
"Ang trabaho po ng taga-ulat ay hindi lamang magtype kung ano ang sinasabi ng ating Pangulo or news subject. Meron po tayong tungkulin na wag magpalaganap ng kasinungalingan. Kung hindi po natin itatama, tayo po ay may kinikilingan. Kung pinapalaganap po ang sinasabi ng news subject na kasinungalingan, ikaw ay kumikiling sa kasinungalingan."
(A journalist's job is not just to type what the President or a news subject says, we have a responsibility to prevent the spread of lies. If we won't correct these, we are siding with lies.)
Lambino, meantime, urged netizens to actively report trolls or peddlers of false information.
"Sana ay mas maging aktibo ang mga netizens at mamamayan, maging active tayo sa pagrereport sa kanila (trolls) para hindi na kumalat ang mga kasinungalingan," she said.
(I hope netizens and others will be more active in reporting trolls so lies would not spread.)