PD No.90 Declaring Unlawful Rumor-Mongering and Spreading False Information
Somebody on my facebook page asked, Is there a law in the Philippines
penalizing the deliberate spreading of fake news or fake information.
I searched my old law books and I came across this law enacted during the term
of President Ferdinand Marcos.
It is a Presidential Decree. Laws decreed by President Marcos during the martial
law were called Presidential decree.
Fake news by the way is defined as a type of yellow journalism or propaganda
that consists of deliberate misinformation or hoaxes spread via traditional
print and broadcast news media or online social media.
This false information is mainly distributed by social media, but is periodically
circulated through mainstream media. Fake news is written and published with
the intent to mislead in order to damage an agency, entity, or person, and/or
gain financially or politically, often using sensationalist, dishonest,
or outright fabricated headlines to increase readership, online sharing,
and Internet click revenue.
Spreading rumors or false news is punishable under Philippine law.
Presidential Decree No.90 penalizes the deliberate spreading of fake news
Here is the complete text of the law.
PRESIDENTIAL DECREE No.90 January 6, 1973
DECLARING UNLAWFUL RUMOR-MONGERING AND SPREADING FALSE INFORMATION
WHEREAS, a primordial objective of Proclamation No. 1081 dated September 21, 1972
is the early restoration of peace, order and tranquility throughout the country;
WHEREAS, one of the most insidious means of disrupting such peace, order and
tranquility is the utterance, publication, distribution, circulation and
spread of rumors, false news or information and gossip that cause divisive
effects among the people, discredit of or distrust for the duly constituted
authorities and/or that undermine the stability of the government and
the objectives of the New Society and, therefore, inimical to the best
interests of the State;
WHEREAS, to attain the aforesaid primordial objective of Proclamation No. 1081,
it is imperative that such acts be curbed and penalized;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, FERDINAND E. MARCOS, in my capacity as Commander-in-Chief
of all the Armed Forces of the Philippines and pursuant to Proclamation
No. 1081 dated September 21, 1972, do hereby order and decree that any
person who shall offer, publish, distribute, circulate and spread rumors,
false news and information and gossip, or cause the publication,
distribution, circulation or spreading of the same, which cause or
tend to cause panic, divisive effects among the people, discredit
of or distrust for the duly constituted authorities, undermine the
stability of the Government and the objectives of the New Society,
endanger the public order, or cause damage to the interest or credit
of the State shall, upon conviction, be punished by prision correccional.
In case the offender is a government official or employee, the accessory
penalty of absolute perpetual disqualification from holding any public
office shall be imposed.
Done in the City of Manila, this 6th day of January, in the year of Our Lord,
nineteen hundred and seventy-three.
Prision correctional has a duration of imprisonment from 6 months and 1 day
to 6 years.
Worth reading also is art.154 of the revised penal code which has something to do
with fake news.
Art.154 penalizes the publication or as news any false news which may endanger
the public order.