“What I said earlier that without fake news we would not know what is true news should not be taken as governmental encouragement of fake news. Far from it,” Presidential Spokesperson Roque said in a statement. Presidential Photo/Ace Morandante, File

Roque denies endorsing fake news
Ian Nicolas Cigaral (Philstar.com) - January 31, 2018 - 2:52pm

MANILA, Philippines — Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque on Wednesday denied encouraging the spread of fake news after he was criticized for saying that people wouldn’t know true news without stories that are intentionally false.

“What I said earlier that without fake news we would not know what is true news should not be taken as governmental encouragement of fake news. Far from it,” Roque said in a statement.

He was clarifying his remarks last January 28, where he said: “Without fake news, we wouldn’t distinguish true news... So, let there be a free marketplace of ideas.”

The Palace spokesman then explained that an existing jurisprudence in the US allowed “even mistakes in reportage on public figures” because otherwise “the free and unimpeded discussion of public issues would be hindered.”

“For sure and to be clear, fake news as is known today should find no place as a matter of governmental policy,” Roque said.

“Enlightened citizens should be able to pick out chaff from grain and appreciate what good journalism is about,” he added.

The proliferation of fake news has been widely seen by experts as a major global threat with its reported ability to manipulate elections and imperil democracies.

Despite conducting a hearing in aid of legislation on fake news, Sen. Grace Poe on Tuesday maintained that Congress “cannot legislate thought control.”

Roque earlier said he was a victim of fake news, as he blasted the media for their reportage of his remarks regarding Chinese research in Benham Rise.

He also hit international law experts and scientists who were insulted by his statement.

READ: Roque hits media coverage of his Benham Rise remarks

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