MANILA, Philippines- Ipinanawagan ni Irene Khan, UN Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Opinion and Expression, nitong Biyernes ang ddekriminalisasyon ng libel.
Sa isang press conference, sinabi ni Khan na ginagamit ang Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 “to deadly effect” laban sa mga mamamahayag at lumikha ng “chilling” effect sa freedom of expression at media freedom.
“Particularly— cyber libel provisions and I have recommended that they be repealed along with criminal libel in your criminal court. Criminalization of speech for libel is actually going out of fashion around the world,” ani Khan.
“They have been described as relics of the colonial past. A modern democracy does not need to criminalize expression,” dagdag niya.
Para sa special rapporteur, ang reputasyon ng isang tao ay kanyang “private business.”
“We should not be able— one side, the powerful side usually, should not be able to call on the resources of the state to protect it while the other side is left without protection. And the other side, very often, are journalists like you,” giit ni Khan.
Samantala, sinabi niya na nananatiling mapanganib ang Pilipinas para sa mga mamamahayag.
“Violence against journalists and human rights defenders, as we all know, was particularly high during the Duterte administration. However, the past 18 months shows that the trend remains disturbing with four journalists killed since a new administration took office,” pahayag ni Khan.
Nauna nang inilahad ng mga opisyal na tinalakay nila ang mga kaso nina Renato Blanco, ang broadcaster na patay sa pananaksak sa Negros Oriental; Cresenciano “Cris” Bundoquin, ang broadcaster na nasawi sa shooting incident sa Oriental Mindoro; radio anchor Juan “DJ Johnny Walker” Jumalon, ang anchor na binaril sa kasagsagan ng kanyang live broadcast; at Percy Lapid, na binaril sa Las Piñas, sa kanilang pulong kay Khan.
“I have been told by the Department of Justice (DOJ) that they have prosecuted three cases and are investigating the fourth. And the DOJ has also taken some other measures to strengthen investigation and prosecution,” wika ni Khan.
Aniya, ang pangunahing isyu ay ang Administrative Order 35 na naglalayong tugunan ang extrajudicial killings, forced disappearances, at grave violation of human rights.
“We must not forget accountability for past victims, justice for… victims of the past,” giit ng UN official.
“In the Philippines, the right to information has been operationalized by the Executive Order No. 2… and while it has affirmed people’s right to information, there is a very long list of exceptions, which make its difficult for you as journalists or for citizens to inform themselves or to access information,” giit pa niya.
Gayundin, binanggit ni Khan ang pag-block sa websites ng alternatibong news organizations, at sinabing ito ay “direct form of censorship.”
“The government may dislike some outlets that provide alternative narratives that may not follow its own editorial line. But it is critical that any decision to respect freedom of expression needs the three-part test… legality, necessity, portionality,” sabi ni Khan.
“I also believe that the authorities should look into the issue of media ownership monopoly and adopt rules aiming at limiting the disproportionate influence of a single person or entity,” patuloy niya. RNT/SA