Advocate: Gov't should be example of truth-telling to fight disinformation


Posted at Apr 28 2022 05:23 PM

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Authorities should help fight disinformation by setting an example on telling the truth, instead of regulating social media content, an advocate said on Thursday. 

Government should not be the "arbiter for truth" as "they could use it for whatever interest of the ruling people, the ruling class," said Movement Against Disinformation Chairman and Lead Convener Tony La Viña. 

"Government needs to be the example, but I don't want them to be the regulator," he told ANC's Dateline Philippines. 

"We need to be really vigilant about accountability as well as prevention. Fact-checking, and then making those responsible for disinformation accountable for what they do," he added. 

The spread of disinformation has ramped up online in the lead-up to the May 9 elections. 

Independent fact-checkers have pointed to social media platform Facebook as the "main hub" of fake news in the Philippines, while a study found disinformation supportive of presidential candidate Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. on video-sharing site YouTube. 

A proposed law would have required Filipinos to register their SIM card to curb disinformation and so-called online trolls. 

President Rodrigo Duterte vetoed the bill earlier this month, saying that a provision requiring the registration of associated social media accounts needed further study. 

"We don't want, for example, restrictions on press freedom, even on social media registration. That's why I will support the veto of President Duterte of the social media legislation act that has violated privacy of users. We don't actually want that," La Viña said.