If there’s no fake news, we wouldn’t know what’s true – Roque

If there’s no fake news, we wouldn’t know what’s true – Roque
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque says there should be 'a free marketplace of ideas'

MANILA, Philippines – Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque justified disinformation by saying that people wouldn’t be able to distinguish “true news” if there were no fake news.

Roque, in a press briefing in Iloilo City on Sunday, January 28, had been asked about his remarks on Benham Rise which he earlier claimed had been misunderstood.

Roque was also asked about his “relationship” with President Rodrigo Duterte’s known supporters on social media, who previously demanded his resignation after he defended the media.

“Talaga naman pong matagal ko nang adbokasiya na protektahan itong malayang pananalita, malayang pamamahayag. Mayroon mang fake news… sabi nila sa isang kaso – kung walang fake news, hindi natin malalaman kung ano iyong true news. Hindi natin malalaman kung ano’ng kasinungalingan, hindi rin natin malalaman kung ano’ng katotohanan. So, let there be a free marketplace of ideas,” Roque said.

(It’s long been my advocacy to protect freedom of speech, press freedom. Even though there’s fake news… as they said in one case – if there’s no fake news, we wouldn’t know what’s true news. We wouldn’t know the lies, we also wouldn’t know the truth. So, let there be a free marketplace of ideas.)

But fake news, according to University of the Philippines (UP) professor Clarissa David, “has clearly escalated into a scale that is difficult to manage.” (WATCH: ‘Fake news’ and the dilemma it has created)

Members of the Duterte administration themselves and their supporters have been accused of spreading propaganda and misinformation online. (READ: Blogger-propagandists, the new crisis managers)

Duterte recently called Rappler a “fake news outlet” as he ranted about an article published on the site about his aide, Special Assistant to the President Bong Go.

In response, Rappler said: “The President knows who produces fake news in the Philippines, and it certainly is not Rappler. He doesn’t have to look far from where he sits in Malacañang.”

Rappler, media organizations, human rights groups, and United Nations (UN) experts have also denounced the recent Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) decision to revoke Rappler’s registration. The case is seen as an attack on press freedom by the Duterte administration. (WATCH: Rappler Talk: Francis Lim on how SEC violated own rules in Rappler case– Rappler.com

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