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#FactsFirstPH asks candidates to fight lies and lead fact-based campaigns

Below is an open letter sent by Facts First PH  to all the presidential candidates this afternoon. The #FactsFirstPH initiative is a multi-layer, multi-sectoral effort, composed of more than 120 (as of this writing) news outfits, business organizations, academe, civil society, legal and human rights groups, and religious to fight disinformation through truth-telling and debunking lies. The same letter will eventually be sent out to candidates running for Vice President and Senator.

The letter asks 3 things of the candidates to support the effort against disinformation networks during this time:

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Dear —-

This is a moment that demands the best of us.

In the last few years, we’ve watched while technology enabled the destruction of our shared reality and polarized our people by distributing lies faster and further than facts. Without facts, we can’t have truth. Without truth, there is no trust. Without all three, we have no shared reality, no democracy – no ability to solve our most pressing problems.

We can’t have integrity of elections without the integrity of facts.

Every country which has a vote this year recognizes this global battle for facts; for the Philippines, winning that battle is necessary to help guarantee our citizens can make an informed choice on May 9.

A first-of-its-kind initiative, #FactsFirstPH is a multi-layered, multi-sectoral effort to fight lies and systemic information operations carried out by disinformation networks. It’s a commitment to protect the facts and exact accountability on those who harm the public sphere with lies. More than 120 newsrooms, civil society groups, business associations, religious organizations, academic institutions, and legal and human rights groups, are working together in a four-tiered pyramid to build communities of action around facts, truth, and trust.

Now more than ever, we need leaders who value truth above power – respectful of the public sphere where democracy occurs. Please consider joining our collaborative endeavor to fight back against lies and computational propaganda by taking these simple steps:

1. Pledge your commitment to the truth. Stand up for values that are at the heart of public service.

2. Commit to a fact-based campaign. Lead by example. Create a fact-based vision – and call out the lies.

3. Join #FactsFirstPH. Encourage your campaign team and supporters to spot and submit false claims that our coalition can fact-check. Then join our mesh layer to spread the facts.

We live in unprecedented times – when a virus of lies in our information ecosystem can be as destructive as COVID-19. Rebuilding a better future starts now. We look forward to working with you in making your vision a reality.

You hold our future in your hands.

On behalf of the #FactsFirstPH Coalition:

Maria A. Ressa
Nobel Peace Laureate

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