Philippine senator files bill against fake news creation and distribution

If approved, offenders will be slapped with hefty fines; public officials found guilty will face stiffer penalties.

By Adrian M. Reodique
June 22, 2017


Senator Joel Villanueva has filed a bill against the malicious creation and distribution of false news or information in print, broadcast or online media.

Senator Joel Villanueva today (22 June 2017) filed a bill against the malicious creation and distribution of false news or information in print, broadcast or online media.

The Senate Bill No. 1492 describes false news or information as those that intend to cause panic, division, chaos, violence, and hate or a propaganda to discredit one's reputation.

If approved, offenders will be slapped with hefty fines, while public officials found guilty will face stiffer penalties.

A person proved to be creating and distributing fake news will be fined P100,000 to P5 million, and will face one to five years of imprisonment. A public official found guilty will have to pay twice the amount of the fine, spend twice as long in prison, and will be disqualified from holding any public office.

In addition, a person who aided and encouraged the malicious creation and distribution of fake news will be slapped with a fine of P50,000 to P3 million, and six months to three years of imprisonment. If the offender is a public official, he/she will face double the fine and jail term, aside from being disqualified from holding any public office.

Meanwhile, media companies or social media accounts that fail, neglect, or refuse to remove false news/information will be fined P10 million to P20 million, and sentenced to 10 to 20 years behind the bars.

"The effect of fake news should not be taken lightly. Fake news creates impression and beliefs based on false premises leading to division, misunderstanding and further exacerbating otherwise strenuous relations," said Villanueva.

"The passage of this bill will encourage our citizens, especially public officers, to be more responsible and circumspect in creating, distributing and/or sharing news. Addressing national and global concerns should not be made more complicated by false news calculated to cause disunity, panic, chaos or violence," he added.

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