PCOO official: There are laws vs fake news

PRESIDENTIAL Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Assistant Secretary Ana Marie Banaag said there are sufficient laws to cover fake news.

"We have enough laws already and we have the administrative code that would cover public officials and we have the cyber act and the revise penal code if anybody public official ka man or individual sa tingin mo you maligned the person or another person then they can charged you for libel," Banaag said on Friday, March 16, during a media interview.

(We have enough laws already and we have the administrative code that would cover public officials and we have the cyber act and the revise penal code. Whether you are a public official or individual that maligned a person, then they can charged you for libel.)

Banaag said the Department of Information and Communications Technology and the PCOO is coming up with a compilation of laws on how to be more responsible as public officials in spreading information.

"To come up with a special law especially a law to punish those who are spreading fake news is not necessary, not this time" she added. "If they think that it is not good for a public official to be doing spreading this one you can be sued under the administrative code."

Banaag reiterated that the PCOO will not define fake news due to the accompanying risk of the state implementing a regulation that “would be contradictory to the freedom of speech and the right to expression,”

“Paano mo pagbabangain iyong legislation at mga karapatan na nakasaad na sa constitution (How can you compare the legislation and the rights that has been stipulated in the constitution) this are the high price we pay for civil liberties that we enjoy in a very democratic country. So, whether they criticized you as a public official or even a private individual that's their opinion for as long as they don't impute a crime against you then that's fine," Banaag said.

Banaag uttered that it would be best if the Department of Education, Commission on Higher Education and the National Youth Commission would come up a multimedia literacy and public information campaign for children and youth for them to be more discerning on what they do, what they read, share and what not to share.

"Again that was the last hearing yesterday (March 15) so we hope that if because it is a legislative prerogative they come up with the definition they come up with the regulation well let's see how that works, but we are clear that we are not – regulation. We do not censor any opinion, you bash us, its okay that's part of our jobs."


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