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‘Fake news has no place in society’: Marcos backs FOI

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said fake news has no place in society as he affirmed his administration’s commitment to the Freedom of Information (FOI) program.

“Like everyone here, we too recognize as a matter of principle that fake news should have no place in modern society,” he said during the 14th International Conference of Information Commissioners (ICIC), a network overseeing the implementation of access to public information laws and policies worldwide.

“I reiterate our call not only to the executive branch but to all branches of government, to genuinely uphold and give effect to the people’s freedom of information in the course of our day-to-day operations, with good faith and with openness,” he added.

BUSY DAY FOR PBBM. President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. receives a token after speaking at the formal opening of the 14th edition of the International Conference of Information Commissioners (ICIC) at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City on Monday. He later huddles with Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro and Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin (below, backs to the camera) after the oathtaking ceremony of 40 newly-promoted generals at Malacañan Palace. PCO Photos

Mr. Marcos said his administration would undertake a media and information literacy campaign, which shall be digital, multimedia, and youth-oriented.

“The ICIC can be assured that the Philippines will continue to promote freedom of information… We will strive to maintain a government that is not only effective and efficient but also transparent and accountable to our people,” Mr. Marcos said.

“We value its potency to empower our people to make informed decisions to participate fully in the democratic process, and hold their representatives accountable without fear or apprehension,” he added.

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) said it agreed with the President’s sentiments on disinformation even as it cautioned against labeling critical reports as fake news.

“We hope, however, that such a campaign will not —as it has previously — lead to the labeling of critical reports and of dissent as ‘fake news.’ We hope as well that the government’s drive against misinformation and disinformation will include openness on government transactions and records and greater access for journalists to officials and agency heads,” the NUJP said in a statement.

“We also hope that this drive will cover the malicious and baseless labeling by government officials and their surrogates of some of our colleagues as terrorists and enemies of the state, an old form of disinformation against dissent that has been revived in recent years,” the group added.

The President said the FOI program “has leveraged available technology and digital platforms to be of greater service to our people.”

“The FOI Program has greatly advanced the campaign against misinformation and disinformation in the country. A problem that we in the Philippines also suffer from as I guess all of us do around the world,” he said.

Presidential Communications Office (PCO) Secretary Cheloy Velicaria-Garafil said that hosting the ICIC this year was a testament that “the Philippines recognizes access to information as a fundamental right that must be upheld.”

The Philippines is the first Southeast Asian member of the network.

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