While speaking at the recent Democracy and Disinformation Conference in Iloilo City, Integrated Bar of the Philippine (IBP) president, Atty. Abdiel Dan Elijah Fajardo, said the freedom of expression, which is guaranteed by the Philippine Constitution, is being used a shield for “hate speech.”
“People will say anything, without regard of personal sensibilities, and, oftentimes, in utter ignorance of the very subject matter that they [are discussing],” he explained.
Fajardo noted, such statements are made while “hiding behind the protection provided by the Constitution on freedom of expression.”
Among such commentary, he included, “Speech that incites hatred or violence against judges; speech that glorifies rape and murder; false statements that are proffered as facts, calculated to injure the reputation of a person or organization; [and] profanity that is integrated into opinion.”
The IBP official called the internet an “enabler” and characterized Facebook as “a medium of false information, misleading opinions, and hate speech.”
Fajardo encouraged the public not to engage in disseminating “fake news;” however, he also pointed out how today’s environment makes false information more difficult to identify.
“Under traditional logic, fake news should be easily defeated by the truth,” he stated. “But we are now witnesses to how opinion may be manipulated, through the constant bombardment of lies and propaganda passed on as correct information.”/WDJ