Jail term, fine await publishers of fake news in the Philippines

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte signed the new Republic Act, which imposes jail terms and fines on those who publish false news, on Aug 29. PHOTO: EPA

MANILA (Philippine Daily Inquirer/Asia News Network) - Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has signed into law stiffer penalties against people who publish false news.

Under Article 154 of the new Republic Act, any person publishing false news "which may endanger the public order, or cause damage to the interest or credit of the state" may be jailed between one and six months and fined from 40,000 pesos (S$1,061) to 200,000 pesos (S$5,305).

The law also applies to "any person who by the same means, or word, utterances or speeches shall encourage disobedience to the law or to the constituted authorities or praise, justify, or extol any act punished by law."

The fine will also apply to "any person who shall maliciously publish or cause to be published any official resolution or document without proper authority or before they have been published officially."

The law also penalises "any person who shall print, publish, or distribute or cause to be printed, published, or distributed books, pamphlets, periodicals, or leaflets which do not bear the real printer's name, or which are classified as anonymous."

The Republic Act, which amends the country's Revised Penal Code, was passed by the Philippine Congress before being signed into law by Duterte on Aug 29.

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