Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte (Photo: AFP/VNA)

Manila (VNA) – Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on August 31 signed a new law, under which spreading fake news is now considered a crime and anybody proven to spread false news can be jailed for up to six months and fined up to 200,000 pesos (3,909 USD).

A Republic Act amending the country's Revised Penal Code, passed by the Philippine congress earlier, carries harsher penalties for certain crimes. The new law punishes the publication of any false news which may endanger the public order, or cause damage to the interest or credit of the State. Penalty for such crime is imprisonment for one to six months and a fine starting from 40,000 to 200,000 pesos (782-3,909 USD).

It also penalises any person who by means of printing, or by words, utterances or speeches shall encourage disobedience to the law or to the constituted authorities or praise, justify and extol any act punished by law.

In a news release the same day, the Presidential Palace said the law consists of provisions adjusting the amount of fines, as well as the amount or the value of property and damage on which a penalty is set.

The law adjusted the fines on certain crimes against national security, such as treason and crimes against public order, such as rebellion and sedition.

The Philippine military has been fighting pro-IS militants in Marawi city over the past four months. There has been widely-spread false news and propaganda from rebel groups on social media. The Philippine government urged media and citizens to listen to authorities and stop spreading fake news.-VNA