DE LIMA BEWAILS IMPUNITY OF FAKE NEWS PURVEYORS

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Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has bewailed the impunity of fake news purveyors who continue to spread false content and misleading information to advance their own personal and political agendas.

De Lima, the staunch critic of the government’s war on drugs, also abhorred moves by some pro-administration bloggers, such as Mocha Uson, Sass Sasot and RJ Nieto to hide behind the title “blogger” to avoid accountability for spreading disinformation.

“You know, I have seen how they react to calls to hold them accountable: ‘I’m just a blogger.’ ‘When I am posting and sharing information as a blogger, I shouldn’t be held to be accountable for the consequences of my action,'” she noted.

“It’s a scary scenario when there are powerful people – and yes, these bloggers are powerful – who are aware of the power they wield, and yet are claiming to be entitled to wield it with impunity to further their own personal and political ends,” she added.

Uson, Sasot and Nieto of Thinking Pinoy as with other pro-administration bloggers can go far as to use crude language that could be considered offensive if it means defending the administration and attacking its critics.

While several lawmakers and political pundits already pointed out that Uson’s position as a presidential communications assistant secretary and as a blogger may overlap with the law, her camp reasoned out that her blog did not represent the views of her office.

De Lima, a former justice secretary, lamented how there is a very explicit and apparent effort on several pro-administration bloggers’ side to wash their hands of any responsibility, if not culpability, for the chaos they created.

“By taking this stance, they are not just refusing to apologize or even recognize that they are instrumental in the spread of fake news, in the propagation of hate, intolerance and injustice, and in the damage being done to our democracy,” she said.

“By taking this stance, that means we cannot even expect them to repent, and make any dependable commitment not to commit the same acts in the future. They are, therefore, incorrigible,” she added.

In a recent Senate hearing on online fake news, Rappler Chief Executive Officer Maria Ressa underscored how De Lima has been systematically victimized and demonized by fake news peddlers across social media platforms.

“You allege corruption. And then you repeat that exponentially. Because if you say a lie 10 times, truth can catch up. But if you say a lie a million times, that becomes the truth,” Ressa told Senate probers.

Ressa said this procedure or step is followed by using sexual violence as a weapon and finally, she added, “the last step before taking it into the real world–because there have been four waves of these types of attacks, #ArrestLeiladeLima.”

Last January 2017, De Lima delivered a fiery privilege speech to denounce the unabated proliferation of fake news on the Internet and other social networking sites, where she likened fake news to a “virus” that poisons and corrupts the people’s mind.

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