I wonder whether such things occur at all to Villanueva. If not, his law would be not only selective but also exploitable as a weapon against freedom and, for that prospect alone, should be struck down. Indeed, I won’t have any lawmakers or anyone else other than me and my editors laying down the rules and standards for news – judging what news is genuine and what is fake, and what news is fit and what is unfit to print or air or post on the Net.
If anyone should take up police duty against fake news, it is us news people ourselves. In fact, it’s something we should have been doing as a matter of practice, something fundamental to it – keeping a good measure of skepticism, aggressive and relentless digging, quizzing, and verifying, and courageous reporting and opinion-making. That’s exactly how our profession is supposed to help in vetting and purifying information and in distilling issues.
Inversely, any shortcomings on those counts help allow fake news to slip through and gain currency, and gain enough currency in some cases to drive developments on an irreversible run. (One possible case is to do with Duterte’s little-challenged count of 3 million drug addicts, which he has used to justify his war against drugs – a war which has resulted in the death of thousands, raising widespread suspicions of summary killings.)
To be sure, we cannot be expected to do the policing alone, but, if we default, the likes of Joel Villanueva will step in. – Rappler.com