SENATOR Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan on Wednesday said that “disinformation, misinformation, hate speech, and mass deception via digital platforms are the Covid19 variants of the digital world.”
On the eve of a Senate committee hearing to conduct a review of the Philippine criminal laws related to the rise of social media platforms and the rapid advance of technology, Pangilinan said these are “several of the biggest man-made threats to modern Philippine society.”
“Para itong sunog na winawasak ang tiwala at kumpyansa sa ating demokrasya at mga institusyong tulad ng malayang pamamamahayag (Disinformation, misinformation, hate speech, and mass deception through coordinated mass distribution of fake news are digital wildfires, which destroy trust and confidence in our democracy and democratic institutions such as the independent and free press),” Pangilinan said.
“Professionals engaged in delivering news, content, and information through a free and independent press must not be targets of disinformation and hate speech. We need them to do their jobs conscientiously to enable our democracy to function optimally,” he added.
Pangilinan said the destruction of our polity and democratic institutions, and the diminution of our trust in an independent and free press to deliver factually correct content and information also undermine our business and financial climate.
“Disinformation, misinformation, hate speech, and mass deception via digital platforms extremely polarize us, and politically wound all of us. They pose physical harm too,” he said.
Pangilinan said that no one is safe from being potential targets. “All of us are fair game now,” he said.
“Survivors of these malicious attacks suffer lingering mental, psychological, and emotional challenges,” he added.
Pangilinan called on all Filipinos, regardless of their political beliefs, “to join us in the fight against disinformation, misinformation, hate speech, and mass deception via digital platforms.”
“We must all roll back and conquer the digital dark age. This is our shared responsibility,” he said.