Solon chides word of the year

Hands down, the Philippines word of the year, according to Collins Dictionary is, – yes, you guessed it right: fake news.

The 2017 has been a rollercoaster ride for the country. Fake news, has definitely contributed to the ride

According to PhilStar, Collins defines “fake news” as “false, often sensational, information disseminated under the guise of news reporting.” The word rose to prominence this year with an unprecedented usage increase of 365 percent since 2016. “Fake news” has been a favorite word of US President Donald Trump as a defense against critics and the subject of a Senate hearing in the Philippines this year. “Claims those potentially damaging stories were ‘fake news,’ and enquiries into the proliferation of such stories were a major part of the news agenda in 2017,” Collins said.

CNN Philippines cited some examples of fake news as when justice secretary once accused opposition officials of a destabilization plot by ‘exposing’ a group photo, and even ordered a probe. He later backtracked after the photo was verified. Another example is when Presidential communications assistant secretary and blogger Mocha Uson, who faces libel charges for reporting on a fictitious bank account of a senator, was warned by senators to “use her power wisely” in light of social media gaffes on her Facebook page, which had shared outdated stories and inaccurate photos.

CNN Philippines explained, “Battling the spread of ‘fake news’ is similar to fighting a hydra, the many-headed monster of Greek mythology: once you cut off a head, another appears in its place. The term ‘fake news’ has been suggested as an oxymoron: an oxymoron for “lies,” says veteran journalist Ellen Tordesillas of Vera Files, an independent organization that conducts fact checks on misleading and false claims circulating online. Speaking in a Senate probe, she states that ‘fake news’ are lies masquerading as truth. “One of the attributes of news is accuracy, truthfulness … so ‘pag sinabi mong ‘fake news,’ paano maging fake ang totoo? Parang hindi tama ‘yung word na ‘fake news.’”

“But whether we like it or not, the term “fake news” is here and is here to stay. In this electronic age and time where news, whether true or false, travel as fast as the speed of light, there is much to learn in this word of the year, said Bohol First District Rep. Rene Relampagos. On one side, it calls us to exercise more prudence in our use of social media; to be more circumspect before we hit the ‘send’ or ‘post’ button; to think not only twice before sending anything at all; and to double check our sources at all times,” Relampagos, said.

“On the other hand, the proliferation of fake news should call us to be more critical and not accept things at face value; it should caution us to seek the truth and refrain from making immediate judgments. There are two sides in any story, after all. On the third hand, if I may say so,” the lawmaker continued, “this should serve as a call, especially to our media outfits, quad social media users, bloggers, government agencies, and other sources of information to be more responsible and transparent. Fake news is such a waste of time, effort and resources. It causes unnecessary inconvenience, and, at times, causes irreparable damage to those subjects of the fake news.”

Fake, or false, news is punishable by law. Section 18, Article 154 of the Revised Penal Code makes it punishable for “Any person who by means of printing, lithography, or any other means of publication shall publish or cause to be published as news any false news which may endanger the public order, or cause damage to the interest or credit of the State.”

Rep. Relampagos said, “The bottom line is, let us not be part nor contribute to the spread of fake news.  Instead, may the Christmas season inspire us to spread only love and truth. And there is no greatest truth than the story of the birth of Jesus Christ, our Savior.”

“Have a blessed and meaningful Christmas everyone! This is not fake news!,” he chided.

 

 

 

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