Opposition Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan urged owners of social media platforms to go after purveyors of hate speech and fake news.

PANGILINAN - Pangilinan to social media: Go after child porn, hate speech, fake news.
Senator Francis Pangilinan (Senate of the Philippines / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

At the 2020 Hate Speech Conference organized by the Council of Asian Liberals and Democrats over the weekend, Pangilinan said everyone who cares about expressing themselves should fight the hate messages flooding social media now.

“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.

The senator also said social media platform owners should act on the rampant child pornography that utilizes their technologies and networks.

Pangilinan said social media platforms into pornography are actual “crime scenes.”

He also called for the creation of 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.

“Let us continue to engage social media users politely by pointing out facts from opinion,” he stressed.

But while hate speech is a serious concern, he said regulation from the government and the state may lead to censorship of dissenting opinions.

When hate speech is echoed and legitimized by the powerful, Pangilinan warned it can be weaponized to incite violence and chaos since such utterances can be interpreted as official policies.

“It’s 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.

Thus, he said, everyone should be concerned on the prevalence of hate speech saying “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,” Pangilinan stressed.

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