NUJP statement on the seferment of the Libel Bill passage

Mar. 05, 2009

NUJP statement on the seferment of the Libel Bill passage

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines takes cognizance of Speaker Prospero Nograles’ deferment of the passage on third reading of House Bill 5760 because the measure, which is supposed to consolidate several bills that seek to decriminalize libel, veered away from the original intent.

We also express our appreciation for the withdrawal of authorship from HB 5760 of party-list representatives Satur Ocampo, Teodoro Casio, Liza Maza, Luzviminda Ilagan and Rafael Mariano, which called attention to the fact that the bill, contrary to its original intent, actually provided for even harsher penalties.

At the same time, while we thank Speaker Nograles for deferring passage of the bill and ordering its review, we also reject the notion forwarded by lawmakers that the decriminalization of libel is a companion bill to the onerous and patently unconstitutional right of reply bill, just as we dismiss the even more inane suggestion that passing the right of reply bill will end the murder of journalists.

To allow this would be to submit to what can only be blackmail of the lowest order.

Thus, while we urge the passage of a bill genuinely decriminalizing libel, we will never submit that a right of reply bill, no matter how amended or watered down, can ever be acceptable since the very idea of such a legislation is in itself a direct assault on freedom of the press and of expression, and of the people’s right to know.
105-A Scout Castor Street (near Morato Avenue)
Quezon City, Philippines
Tel.: (+632) 4117768

comments powered by Disqus