Senate President Vicente Sotto III (

Non-journalists who deliberately produce disinformation for distribution on social media are the targets of Senate President Vicente Sotto III’s anti-fake news bill.

Legitimate news organizations, which happen to have been fed wrong information by their news sources, will not be considered guilty of being purveyors of fake news, Sotto said on Monday.

Hindi fake news `yun (That’s not fake news),” he told reporters.

“What we’re trying to achieve here … is that those who would like to come up with some kind of news of their own through the social media, must follow the ethics of journalists like you. You are responsible, you’re accountable for what you place,” Sotto explained.

“Those who use the internet should do the same. If you want to put up news online, verify if it is true. Now if it’s not true, and you placed it there knowing it’s not true, you’re committing a crime in this bill,” he added.

Sotto called financiers of fake news sites “scammers,” and said the bill also wants fake news content taken down by the government.

“The problem is, you can charge someone but the content is left on the internet. What we want to achieve in this bill is you must remove that,” he said.

Libel is a different penalty, Sotto also said.

“In libel, there must be malicious intent. Libel is too heavy. This is different, we’re giving the proper authorities the chance to remove…not half-truths but fake news. The one who uploaded will be held liable,” he said.

The Department of Information and Communications Technology will handle fake news complaints, and “will be able to handle it and hold the bull by the horns, so to speak,” Sotto said. (