The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins its affiliate the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) is strongly criticizing the recent arrest of a radio commentator in Valencia City, Bukidnon for libel. The IFJ and NUJP join media groups across the Philippines in calling to have the criminal sanctions for libel removed.
On June 9, Rey Cabaraban, the 47-year-old host of Radyo Rapido, was arrested at his work by local police. The arrest stemmed from a complaint filed by Bikdnon governor, Jose Maria Zubiri Jr in April 2014. The complaint was for two counts of criminal libel and stems from comments Cabaraban made when he worked with dxGG 107.1 Happy FM regarding illegal logging, mining and the peace and order situation in the province.
Ryan Rosauro, a director of (NUJP), said: “Cabaraban’s arrest again highlights the need to revisit the criminal component libel. Too often the criminal component of libel is used by politicians to silence critics and stifle freedom of expression.”
“A review of libel laws in the Philippines, part of the 85-year old Revised Penal Code, is also long overdue to align these with international covenants the Philippines have signed” said NUJP.
The IFJ said: “Journalists continue to be arrested for libel cases at a high rate which is more often used as a tool to silence critical media. The Government needs to take action to repeal the libel laws to secure the rights of journalists and freedom of expression in the Philippines."
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