Sen. Risa Hontiveros on Wednesday called on media workers to be more responsible in their reportage and collectively campaign against disinformation as she underscored the power of the press in holding government officials to account.
"Media can do us a life-saving service by remaining vigilant, always conscious of the ramifications of your storytelling. Please reimagine journalism and communication," Hontiveros told Summit Sandwich Sessions.
"I hope you will have and sustain a collective campaign, pagtutulungan across the different media stakeholders against mis- and disinformation. Because those are anathema to your mission of imparting information," said the reelectionist senator who had also worked as a broadcaster.
Hontiveros rued how fabricating and sharing false information news has become a job for some people. Architects of disinformation have now turned to information elites who employ ordinary people, particularly those who need jobs during the pandemic,.
Sen. Ping Lacson earlier claimed that a government undersecretary was organizing troll farms to attack government critics and potential candidates in the 2022 polls who not aligned with the administration.
Hontiveros said journalists should "remain conscious about not falling into the traps of authoritarian projects" which include the distortion of truth, historical revisionism, and propagation of fake news.
"In authoritarian periods like this na yung isang branch ng government is overly powerful, overreaching, sinusubukang i-intimidate or bilhin or i-coopt yung ibang branches of government, kayo as the fourth estate, like the youth, you are our last lines of defense. Please don't fail us," she said.
Hontiveros was among 12 senators who signed the Senate Resolution seeking an investigation into reports that public funds were being used to operate troll farms and spread misinformation on social media ahead of the 2022 elections.