Random Thoughts

Anything under the sun


Leave a comment

Bloggers equally protected as journalists

But outside the definition of who a journalist is, the actual distinction between a regular media outfit and bloggers is the existence of a hierarchy of editorial controls to ensure accuracy in the news and fairness in commentary. This is why traditional journalists themselves sometimes scoff at the notion that “just about anyone can be a journalist”. In fact, Philippine jurisprudence even distinguishes between the amount of latitude given to the media in making factual errors depending on whether it is a “weekly” or a “daily”, with the latter being given wider latitude for mistakes.

But all these miss the point. There is protection accorded by the bill of rights not just to freedom of the press, but to freedom of expression in general. The normative values of these two freedoms are identical: to discern the truth and to facilitate “open, robust and even virulent discussion of pubic issues”. If both freedoms have the same normative content, why should the courts distinguish between an input to the market place of ideas coming from one who earns a living by it and one who does so anyway as a public duty?

Reblogged from HarryRoque.com. Read more at: http://verafiles.org/bloggers-equally-protected-as-journalists/#sthash.puf4oLw8.dpuf


Leave a comment

Carlos Celdran, the Revised Penal Code, the Church and the State, and the Cybercrime Law

After two years (that’s how speedy our justice system in our country is), the case of Mr. Carlos Celdran, a tour guide and reproductive health advocate who interrupted an inter-faith gathering by raising a placard with the name of Padre Damaso on it as he protested against the Catholic Church’s opposition to the RH Bill (which is now a law), is now finally resolved. The Manila City Metropolitan Trial Court Branch 4 under Judge Juan Bermejo found him guilty of “offending religious feelings’’ (Article 133, Section 4 of the Revised Penal Code) that has an equivalent penalty of “prison term of a minimum of two months to a maximum of 13 months and 11 days.”

Manila Bulletin (MB) intern Jamaica Digo again asked for my thoughts for MB Students and Campuses Section on whether Mr. Celdran deserves to be jailed or not.  The article was published last February 4 and here are my thoughts:

“The law says he is bound for imprisonment for violating Article 133 of our Revised Penal Code. But the issue is: is ‘airing out’ our sentiments amidst religious gathering or even amidst any gathering or any place including the cyberworld, a crime? As long as it is non-violent, it should not be considered a crime. Hence, our campaign for the decriminalization of libel and the junking of the Cybercrime Law.

On the other hand, seeing things from a Catholic’s perspective, the Church could have just forgiven Celdran. Blessed John Paull II did that to his assassin. Moreso, Christ is doing that to His people as He teaches them not to hate the sinner but the sin. It is then ironic that the Filipino Catholic Church went after an individual for committing an act that did not physically harm anyone whereas it is not aggressive in going after those who have physically abused, even killed people who were just asserting for their rights and liberty.” –Kristian Jacob Abad Lora, fourth year, Computer Science, University of the Philippines-Cebu

First published on Manila Bulletin, February 4, 2013 http://www.mb.com.ph/articles/392430/should-carlos-celdran-be-punished-or-not

AMEND the 83-year old Revised Penal Code!
ASSERT our Freedom of Expression!
DECRIMINALIZE libel!
JUNK Cybercrime Law!


Leave a comment

Fight Against Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012

It is very UNFAIR.

With the newly passed and approved RA 10175 known as “Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012”, it seems we, the people, are the ones being punished for criticizing [reminding and reprimanding] our government leaders for their misbehavior and mismanagement instead of having them punished, instead of having Sen. Vicente “Tito” Sotto, III punished for committing plagiarism, repeatedly. Interestingly, it was Sen. Sotto who included the “online libel” provision. Yes, he, who warned critics that the Law may be used against them. Another important question is that why did not President Aquino veto the Bill for amendments?

The online libel provision of the Act exhibits Martial Law in the cyberspace. Apparently, it aims to silence, especially, those who are online critics of public figures like our government leaders. This is NOT DEMOCRATIC and should have no space in a democratic society. The passage of this Bill just manifests that, in reality, there is actually NO GENUINE and FULL FREEDOM and DEMOCRACY under this Yellow Government,  even after the 1972 Martial Law era and the 1986 EDSA Movement, and even during the first Aquino Government.

The complexity of the cyberspace’s structure will really make it hard for the law enforcers to enforce the Act. As a result, more innocent people may be sued. This is worse than the Oplan Bayanihan that sets no clear distinction between an unarmed activist and a revolutionary. This is as worse as the 1972 Martial Law.

Kaya, tara’t tulungan po natin ang KABATAAN Partylist na makakalap ng sapat na bilang ng mga pirma para sa ating petisyon laban sa Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 (local mini-version of SOPA, PIPA and ACTA)! Pls. sign the petition (follow the link below) and share! Maraming salamat po! Padayon! #lakasngMasa #NeverToE-MartialLaw #FREEDOM

Petition here: http://www.change.org/petitions/junk-the-cybercrime-prevention-law

Suggested article: http://www.interaksyon.com/infotech/opinion-beware-the-cybercrime-laws-section-19-the-takedown-clause

PS: The “online libel” is not just the issue in this Act. There are more that concerns not just or right to free speech but also our right to privacy. I am looking for a free time to write my position on this Act.