Bloggers are not above libel laws: Poe

MANILA -- A blogger that passes on false information should be held accountable, Senator Grace Poe said Tuesday.

Poe made this remark in her opening statement at the second hearing on fake news, reminding bloggers that they are not above libel laws.

Though we support a person's right to freedom of expression, once that writer defames the subject of his article, that writer must be held liable in accordance with our laws, Poe said in her speech.

She said a blogger could not just attack a person without basis, and then hide behind the skirt of free expression.

I think one must have the courage to stand by what he has written and posted publicly, she added, stressing that bloggers could not claim that their posts were not subject to a journalist's code of ethics.

During the first hearing on fake news, there was a proposal to regulate fake news through legislation. Poe and other participants, however, expressed alarm that a new law could lead to censorship.

Poe said that fake news could only be addressed by a cocktail of solutions particularly an educated and vigilant citizenry.

Tuesday's hearing is meant to tackle three issues which are the extent of responsibility and accountability of bloggers and journalists in spreading misinformation, the effect of online platforms like Facebook in shaping public opinion and facilitating the spread of misinformation and the accountability of government for the use or misuse of resources in spreading disinformation or suppressing the truth.

Present at the hearing were Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Martin Andanar, PCOO Assistant Secretary Marie Rafael-Banaag, PCOO officials, members of the academe, and media.

Source: Philippine News Agency