Philippine bishops’ leader hits out at fake election news
A senior church official in the Philippines has urged Catholics to arm themselves with facts to fight those spreading fake news and disinformation ahead of the May elections.
The real electoral battle for politicians is taking place on social media rather than the traditional platform, according to the president of the Catholic Episcopal Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), Bishop Pablo Virgilio David of Kalookan.
“Social media has become the new platform for elections. Due to the pandemic, everyone has learned to engage on social media. It has become the source of news, also fake news and misinformation,” he told Facts First, a group of activists who fight lies and fake news in cyberspace.
The bishop was addressing the group at a conference titled “A Call to Action in Manila” on January 26.
Bishop David lamented how some politicians have weaponized the internet by spreading fake news and misinformation to get votes.
“There is a lot of fake news on social media, so we need to tackle all these lies because it is an urgent concern of all citizens and those who advocate the truth,” he said.
We cannot afford to be silent when candidates claim that the best government we have ever had is the Marcos dictatorship
Every Catholic, who is supposed to be a defender of the truth, must join in the fight against such misinformation, he said.
Bishop David recently condemned claims by supporters of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr. and his son, current presidential candidate Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., that the imposition of martial law during the reign of the he ancient was a “golden era” in the history of the Philippines.
Recent articles have praised the Marcos family for various accomplishments such as building the largest hospitals in the country.
“We cannot afford to remain silent when candidates claim that the best government we have ever had is the Marcos dictatorship,” Bishop David said.
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The CBCP President assured people that the Church would always stand for the promotion of the truth as it was the duty of every Christian to promote it.
“In the struggle for truth, you can count on us as allies. I am confident that…we will strengthen the goals of fact-checking groups by sharing the fruits of their labor,” he told activists.
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