Monday, November 27, 2006

NUJP to present petition decriminalizing libel

From the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines:

Recent events have clearly shown how the country's libel law has been abused and exploited to harass media practitioners. No less than First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo leads in filing cases against 43 journalists in what seems to be an attempt to cow the media

The action is a brazen attack on press freedom. The example of the First Gentleman, a powerful and controversial national figure, can only encourage other public officials to step up the use of libel to intimidate critics.

The trend is dangerous. It not only tramples on the basic rights to a free press and to free expression, it also opens the door to abuse of authority. History shows that the narrowing of democratic space leads to the repressive use of power.

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines has successfully launched a campaign among various media groups to lobby for the decriminalization of libel. We have collected hundreds of signatures from local and foreign journalists supporting our proposal.

We invite you to join us as we formally present our petition with the collected signatures to Senate President Manny Villar on Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2006, at 5 p.m. at Rm. 602 GSIS Bldg., Financial Center, Roxas Blvd., Pasay City.

We hope to see you there.

For inquiries, please call the NUJP at 411-7768.

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