KOMPAS.com - Journalists covering May’s presidential election in the Philippines say false news and online attacks are making reporting a challenge.
As candidates, including front-runner Ferdinand Marcos Jr., vie to take the helm from Rodrigo Duterte, disinformation is ramping up.
The Philippines is seen as a testing ground for disinformation campaigns and is often referred to as “Patient Zero” by analysts tracking the spread of false news.
Journalists covering the election and politics further describe a hostile environment fostered toward media by Duterte and his supporters, and online trolling and attacks.
The country’s Presidential Communications Operations Office did not immediately respond to VOA’s request for comment.
For Jervis Manahan, a news reporter at the ABS-CBN media network, “the biggest challenge is disinformation.”
“Fake news has become so believable that the public thinks it's true. It has become so pervasive in society,” he told VOA via email.
Manahan has been covering the campaign of Vice President Leni Robredo, which has been plagued by online disinformation since she announced her candidacy.
A study on election-related disinformation by local fact check site Vera Files says Robredo is the main target, including through statements falsely attributed to her.