Press Release
October 11, 2020

Pangilinan to social media platforms: Go after child porn, hate speech, fake news

EVERYONE who cares about expressing themselves should fight the hate messages flooding social media now, says Senator Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan as he urges social media platform owners to go after purveyors of hate speech and fake news.

"The media, non-government organizations, public leaders, private sector leadership, the owners of these social media platforms, should all come together, and hopefully move towards a direction, a common direction to address, and put a check on hate speech," Pangilinan said.

"We can counter hate messages with our collective vigilance, and by standing for truth," he added.

At the 2020 Hate Speech Conference organized by the Council of Asian Liberals and Democrats over the weekend, Pangilinan also urged social media platform owners to act on the rampant child pornography that utilizes their technologies and networks.

"It has been said that [these social media platforms] are crime scenes," he said.

Pangilinan also proposes to create properly contextualized journalism pieces and facilitate discussions that are "intelligent, based on law, and based on a healthy and critical discussion" on social media, especially amid the ongoing health crisis of the COVID pandemic.

Even then, he said, "Let us continue to engage social media users politely by pointing out facts from opinion."

The senator warns that when hate speech is echoed and legitimized by the powerful, it can be weaponized to incite violence and chaos since such utterances can be interpreted as official policies.

However, while hate speech is a serious concern, regulation from the government and the state may lead to censorship of dissenting voices instead of the actual perpetrators themselves, Pangilinan said.

"It [is] always dangerous to allow governments and states to try and enforce action because that can lead to censorship, and, of course, the very biggest problem that we face is when hate speech [is] actually initiated by people linked to the state [in] the first place," he said.

Pangilinan, who is Liberal Party president, also links hate speech to fake news, which has been used to taint the image of all opposition forces in an effort to silence any legitimate criticism.

He said false information and utterances of hatred benefit only those who have something to hide as well as the resources to sow fear.

In 2018, the Liberal Party had also been accused, through some false information online, to be part of an alleged Red October ouster plot.

Pangilinan said everyone must be concerned because everyone's dignity and rights are at stake.

"When we counter hate speech, we are not only protecting...civil peace, we are also protecting our dignity and rights as people," he said.

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