The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is shocked by reports at least 42 journalists are currently facing libel charges filed by Juan Miguel “Mike” Arroyo, the husband of Philippines President Gloria Arroyo.
According to information release by IFJ affiliate, the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP), the president’s husband has sued 42 journalists, publishers, and editors from seven media companies in the last two years.
“These figures are outrageous,” IFJ President Christopher Warren said.
“It is deeply concerning that the husband of the president, a man of considerable influence and power, can try and hinder free speech by suing journalists into submission,” Warren said.
These figures were released after July’s unbelievable conviction of Abante Tonite columnist and TV broadcaster Raffy Tulfo to 32 years prison and a Php14.7million (US$285,000) fine, on 14 counts of libel arising from several articles written nearly 10 years ago on a customs officer.
“President Arroyo has a responsibility to her people to decriminalise defamation immediately, and ensure that journalists cannot be subject to such horrendous jail terms and ludicrous fines,” Warren said.
The NUJP is holding a roundtable discussion on defamation and the media, on Thursday September 21 9am-12pm (local time) at the Balay Kalinaw, University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City.
For more information please contact IFJ Asia Pacific +61 2 9333 0919
The IFJ represents more than 500,000 journalists in over 115 countries