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Defender: Government should lead by example by telling the truth




Authorities should help fight misinformation by setting an example by telling the truth, instead of regulating social media content, a lawyer said Thursday.

The government should not be the ‘arbiter of truth’ because ‘it could use it for any interest of the people in power, of the ruling class’, said Tony La Viña, president and chief executive of the Movement against misinformation.

“The government should be the example, but I don’t want them to be the regulator,” he told the ANC’s Dateline Philippines.

“We have to be very vigilant about accountability as well as about prevention. Check the facts and then hold those responsible for disinformation accountable for what they do,” he added.

The spread of misinformation has intensified online ahead of the May 9 election.

Independent fact-checkers have named social media platform Facebook as the “main hub” for fake news in the Philippines, while a study found misinformation backed presidential candidate Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. on YouTube video sharing site.

A bill would have required Filipinos to register their SIM cards to combat misinformation and so-called online trolls.

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

“We do not want, for example, restrictions on freedom of the press, even on social media registration. That is why I will support President Duterte’s veto of the social media law which violated the user privacy. We don’t really want that,” La Viña said.


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