Senate tackles fake news in 2nd hearing

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Senator Grace Poe gestures during a Senate committee hearing -- SENATE PRIB

By Arjay L. Balinbin

THE SENATE is set to conduct a public hearing on the proliferation of fake and misleading news and false information on Tuesday, Dec. 12, focusing on the remedies for the “effect” of fake news, said Senator Grace Poe, chairperson of the Senate committee on public information and mass media.

“The hearing on fake news will mainly focus on remedies,” Ms. Poe said in a text message on Sunday, Dec. 10, adding, “In line with this, we will tackle three issues: the effect of fake news in shaping public opinion; the responsibility of bloggers and journalists in spreading misinformation; and the accountability of government for the use and misuse of resources in spreading disinformation.”

Ms. Poe also reiterated that she expects the hearing to focus on creating solutions to the issue.

“Since most of our resource persons are either media practitioners or from the academe, I look forward to an intelligent and meaningful discussion that will result in solutions rather than focus on conflict,” Ms. Poe said.


The hearing is based on the manifestation of Senators Vicente C. Sotto III, Emmanuel D. Pacquiao, Cynthia A. Villar, Richard J. Gordon, Francis Pancratius N. Pangilinan, Juan Miguel F. Zubiri, Ana Theresia Hontiveros-Baraquel, and Juan Edgardo M. Angara on the article published on the Silent No More PH Facebook page titled, “Malacañang Dogs in the Senate.”

The article tagged the aforementioned senators except Ms. Hontiveros and Messrs. Angara and Pangilinan as “lapdogs” for not signing a resolution condemning the killing of minors in President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s war on illegal drugs.

Two other senators mentioned were Senator Gregorio B. Honasan II and Senate President Aquilino Martin L. Pimentel III. Early in November, Senator Antonio F. Trillanes IV filed a libel case against pro-administration blogger Rey Joseph Nieto for sharing a post on his Thinking Pinoy page, which said US President Donald J. Trump called the senator a “Little Narco.”

In the same month, Mr. Sotto sued Edward Angelo “Cocoy” Dayao, an alleged anti-administration blogger behind the Silent No More PH FB page.

Among the guests who confirmed attendance in Tuesday’s Senate hearing are lawyer and Manila Observatory executive director Antonio Gabriel M. La Viña; Head of ABS-CBN Integrated News and Current Affairs Maria Regina E. Reyes; GMA Network Vice-President for Professional Development Howie G. Severino; TV5 news anchor Ed Lingao; Philippine Daily Inquirer Associate Editor and Opinion Columnist John Nery; Rappler CEO Maria A. Ressa; Transparency and Accountability Network Executive Director Vincent Lazatin; journalists Ellen T. Tordesillas and Inday E. Varona; lawyer Gilbert Andres; and bloggers Jane Uymatiao, Jover Laurio, Noemi L. Dado, and Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Assistant Secretary Esther Margaux J. Uson.