President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. is correct in that “fake news” — more accurately called disinformation and misinformation — should “have no place in modern society.” It has led to confusion and polarization and, in the context of media, has been used to attack the integrity and trustworthiness of newsrooms and journalists.
The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) challenges the current administration not to resort to historical revisionism, and acknowledge the sins of his family, including the ill-gotten wealth and gross human rights abuses during the Martial Law period. These are facts supported by evidence, and should not be labeled as fake by the well-oiled troll army.
NUJP agrees that the fight against disinformation should involve a multi-sectoral approach and a media and information literacy campaign can certainly be counted as part of that approach.
We hope, however, that such a campaign will not — as it has previously — lead to the labeling of critical reports and of dissent as “fake news.” We hope as well that the government’s drive against misinformation and disinformation will include openness on government transactions and records and greater access for journalists to officials and agency heads.
We also hope that this drive will cover the malicious and baseless labeling by government officials and their surrogates of some of our colleagues as terrorists and enemies of the state, an old form of disinformation against dissent that has been revived in recent years.
The Freedom of Information executive order, despite the exceptions on access to certain documents, signed in 2016 was a welcome step in the direction of openness. The Marcos Jr. administration can go further by certifying passage of a Freedom of Information law as urgent and necessary.
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