With social media now being flooded by fake news not only in the Philippines but in the US as well, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said that fake news is important. This is despite the fact that he himself claimed became a victim of a recent fake news, particularly on his remarks about conducting a research in Benham Rise.
“On Fake News: “Even a false statement may be deemed to make a valuable contribution to public debate, since it brings about the clearer perception and livelier impression of truth, produced by its collision with error” – New York Times v. Sullivan” Spox Roque wrote on his official Facebook account, Sunday, January 28.
Also that day, Roque was in Iloilo City to attend the Dinagyang Festival. In a press briefing with Iloilo Gov. Arthur Defensor Sr., he said that fake news is important in finding the truth, in discerning truth from falsehood. The former Kabayan party-list representative also noted that people should allow free marketplace of ideas.
“Sabi nga sa isang kaso: Kung walang fake news hindi natin malalaman kung ano yung true news. Kung hindi natin malalaman ang kasinungalingan, hindi rin natin malalaman ang katotohanan,” Roque told reporters during the press briefing on Sunday. He also reiterated that his earlier statement about Benham Rise research was misunderstood.
“Ang sa akin lang po, doon lang tayo sa totoo. Pero sa totoo lang sa isyu ng Benham Rise, nagulat ako how prestigious publications can really publish fake news. Kasi malinaw na malinaw po ang sinabi ko sa tape. Pero noong nakita ko ang mga istorya, talaga nga namang wala naman pinagkakaiba minsan ang sinusulat ng established media doon sa sinusulat ng social media.” he said, referring to local and international news.
“Because only China has qualified so far. There are other applicants, unfortunately, they did not qualify according to fixed guidelines already set by the government.” Roque said in a press briefing last Tuesday when he was asked why the Duterte administration allowed China and not the Philippines to conduct a research at Benham Rise.
“Because no one has applied (for approval). And no one can do it because, apparently, it’s capital intensive. You do not need a permit for any Filipino corporation to conduct scientific investigation in Benham Rise because it is ours so that’s not something that a consent has to be given by the government.” Roque added.
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