EDITORIAL — Those who spread fake news must be held responsible

The Freeman
EDITORIAL � Those who spread fake news must be held responsible

Two broadcasters are now in hot water for spreading fake or unverified news.

One of them is no stranger to controversy; Lorraine Badoy, former official of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) who made news for randomly red-tagging people. The other is alleged former rebel Jeffrey Celiz.

Both are hosts of a TV show operated by a private network. Both are also now in trouble for airing damaging yet unverified information. Both are also currently being detained by the House for contempt.

During a Senate hearing, Badoy’s penchant for spreading information whether verified or not came to light after she was asked why she earlier said former vice president Leni Robredo was affiliated with communist rebels.

“Regarding the former vice president, that statement is not my personal opinion, I stated all those things as the Strategic Communications Cluster Head of the NTF-ELCAC at that time, and that was in fact the official stand of our government... Therefore, it is based on evidence. It was not my personal opinion,” she said.

However, she could not provide such evidence.

Celiz is also in trouble after claiming that Speaker Martin Romualdez supposedly spent ?1.8 billion for travel expenses. Of course, also without any solid evidence.

It seems only fitting Badoy feels how it is to be “persecuted”, but this goes more than just beyond paying Badoy back with her own coin; those who spread fake or unverified news, while passing themselves off as legitimate news sources, have no place in the media.

It’s one thing to share juicy showbiz topics that might or might not be true; but to claim that something happened and label it as the truth even if one isn’t sure it was is something else entirely.

Badoy, a government official and political figure, and Celiz, a former activist and rebel, have no formal training in journalism. This is probably why they do not know the ironclad and inviolable rule of verifying information first before making it public.

They have experience when it comes to broadcasting, yes, but not, it seems, when it comes to reporting what is real.

Their ignorance shouldn’t be an excuse, they must be held responsible for their irresponsible actions.

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