IFJ Welcomes Dismissal Of “Ridiculous” Libel Case In The Philippines

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) welcomes the dismissal of a libel case against two media workers on October 10 in San Pablo City, the Philippines.

According to IFJ affiliate, the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP), Councillor Edgar Adajar had filed a libel case against Diretso Balita publisher Paul Manalo and columnists Iring Maranan and Dondie Banzuela for publishing stories and photos of Adajar mauling Maranan outside a session of a city council on May 16.

Assistant city prosecutor Abril-Pawang, citing the constitutional provision of freedom of the press, reportedly dismissed all claims, noting the case "People of the Philippines vs Vilanio" which ruled commentaries on public officials were not libellous if they could be reasonably inferred from the facts.

“The court’s dismissal of this case is a positive recognition of the importance of freedom of speech and sends a strong message that government officials must cease abusing criminal defamation laws to silence journalists,” IFJ President Christopher Warren said.

"It is totally ridiculous that a public official can beat up a journalist and then sue him for libel,” Warren said.

“This case was clearly a waste of everyone’s time and the IFJ hopes this positive ruling will set an example for future libel cases in the Philippines,” Warren said.

The IFJ, the organisation representing more than 500,000 journalists in over 115 countries, is campaigning for the total decriminalisation of defamation in the Asia Pacific region and reiterates its demands for the government of the Philippines to immediately remove defamation from the criminal code.

For more information please contact IFJ Asia Pacific +61 2 9333 0919

The IFJ represents more than 500,000 journalists in over 115 countries