NBI to investigate spread of fake news on coronavirus

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Metro Manila (CNN PHilippines, February 4) — The spread of fake news and misinformation on the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) acute respiratory disease has alarmed Filipinos in the past two weeks amid fears of catching the virus.

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) was tasked on Tuesday by the Department of Justice to look into the alleged fake news.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra authorized the NBI to investigate the reported spread of misinformation about the virus, and to assist the Department of Health in contact tracing of affected individuals.

The NBI will be conducting a case build-up "on the alleged spread of misinformation and fake news about the 2019-nCoV ARD and false reporting of 2019-ncoV ARD cases," Department Order No. 052 said.

The bureau, it added, can file appropriate charges against individuals who will be found responsible of such acts mentioned.

The Philippines has recorded two confirmed cases of the coronavirus, with one leading to the patient's death.

RELATED: First novel coronavirus death outside China reported in Philippines

Despite the deluge of fake news in the country, the fight against misinformation remains a tough struggle without a law against fake news.

The Duterte administration, on the other hand, has been transparent with their stand regarding the idea of such law.

RELATED: Duterte: Law against fake news won't be passed