By Raymund Antonio
The Manila Bulletin has denied publishing a news report circulating on social media that claimed Vice President Leni Robredo to pass a law that will put her critics behind bars.
Recently, it has come to the attention of the Manila Bulletin the edited screenshot of its online news article published last March 21 with the byline of Tonyo Cruz.
The Facebook page Meanwhile in the Philippines, which has 293,360 followers, shared the image with the headline “Robredo to pass a law to put netizens behind bars for bashing her.”
In the article’s blurb, Vice President supposedly wants to pass a law that will send her bashers to jail except for the “media and known anti-Duterte pages like Silent No More and Pinoy Ako Blog.”
“This is a hoax,” the Manila Bulletin said in a statement.
The Manila Bulletin then called on the public to be discerning about online posts.
“We ask the public to be cautious and responsible when sharing information online to prevent further confusion,” it said.
The post has been circulating on social media, prompting the publication’s online new site to share an image showing the fake headline next to the actual headline of the news article.
The original headline was titled: “Robredo insists social media should be regulated.”
The Vice President issued a statement that she wanted Congress to pass a law that would regulate social media networks to counter the spread of false information online. Having said this, Robredo maintained she firmly stands by the Filipinos’ right to free speech.
“Individual freedom of expression must always be protected. But the deliberate, organized, and large-scale distribution of fake news on social media needs to be addressed through legislation,” she said.
Robredo explained there must be regulation for social media as “well-oiled machinery of fake news undermines public discourse by depriving citizens of the accurate information required to participate effectively in a democracy.”