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KBP national office slams Dagupan's proposed anti-fake news ordinance

DAGUPAN — The Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster sa Pilipinas (KBP) is strongly opposed to the passage of a proposed ordinance seeking "to penalize the spreading, reporting and/ or publishing of fake news and information in the city of Dagupan".
A two-page position paper signed by Herman Z. Basbano, KBP national president, submitted to the Dagupan SP on Monday, stated that while KBP applauds the Dagupan SP's concerns that led to drafting of the proposed ordinance, "we believe that there are already existing ways to address them".
The position paper of KBP was read by SP Secretary Ryan Ravanzo during the continuation of the public hearing of Draft Ordinance No. O-603 authored by Councilor Jose Netu Tamayo, a lawyer, and co-authored by Councilors Dennis Canto, Alvin Coquia and Lino Fernandez.
In the position paper, KBP stressed that while it advocates responsible journalism, it is against enforcement by government of journalistic standards as this "could very well be used as a means to suppress unfavorable news and criticisms against government officials and agencies".
Maintaining that the Philippine constitution prohibits laws which abridges the freedom of speech and of the press, Basbano stressed that the KBP applauds the Dagupan SP's concerns that led to the drafting of the proposed ordinance but believes that there are already existing ways to address them.
On the other hand, the KBP opines that the definition of fake news in the draft ordinance is vague and so broad that it covers legitimate exercise of free speech and expression while it posed, "what is wrong information?"
Basbano said that an opinion or comment which questions the truth of a statement can itself be construed under the definition of fake news.
The draft ordinance also defines fake news as "withholding information for the purpose of changing the tenor of the reported event which misinformation tends to prejudice public order, public welfare and/or substantially ruin reputations, and honor of people and/or their relationships.
KBP asked the Dagupan SP: Who decides when the tenor of a report differs from what it should be? Who decides what is the proper tenor of a news report? And how would one tell whether it is prejudicing public order and public welfare?
KBP also believes the draft ordinance would also proscribe legitimate forms of expression widely used in media such as satires and parodies. It said that news analysis which deals with the wider meaning and significance of the news could also be prohibited as this could affect the way news is interpreted.
The ordinance, said Basbano, seeks to protect public order, public welfare, and the good reputation of individual from the harm that may be caused by misinformation but KBP added that there are already existing legal remedies which include libel and the anti-defamation laws.
Lastly, with respect to broadcasting, the KBP has its own regulatory system which handles complaints and penalizes broadcasters who violates its code of conduct.
This code requires broadcasters to verify sources of news and identify them whenever possible.
The KBP said it is willing to work more closely with the local government if Daguoannwithin the framework of self-regulation to help ensure that its members conform to journalistic standards. (PNA)
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Last Modified: 2017-Mar-22 02.13.44 UTC+0800