Media Advisory: Media groups file motion seeking cyber libel unconstitutional

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines, together with the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility, Philippine Press Institute and other journalist groups have filed today (Mar. 12) a motion asking the Supreme Court (SC) to nullify questionable provisions in the Cybercrime Prevention Act, including the one on online libel.
The petition seeks to declare online libel in Sec. 4(C)4 of the said act unconstitutional because it constitutes prior restraint and curtails our basic rights to free speech and expression, an anachronism in an age when, around the world, libel has been decriminalized.

The petition cited the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which the Philippines is a party. The said covenant upholds the right to free speech and expression, and maintains no defamation law shall be passed stifling these freedoms.

Petitioners likewise sought to invalidate sections which unduly delegated judicial and legislative powers to law enforcement agencies such as the Philippine National Police and the National Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Justice.

Attached to this advisory is a .doc copy of the petition, filed at 3:00 pm today before the SC.
For reference

Rowena Paraan

Concerned UP professors campaign against academic calendar change as UP Diliman admin holds faculty referendum



N.B. – This press release was distributed during a press conference this morning (February 24) at Vinzons Hall, UP Diliman. Please feel free to share. Thank you.

February 24, 2014

Concerned UP professors campaign against academic calendar change as UP Diliman admin holds faculty referendum

Concerned faculty members of the University of the Philippines (UP) wore their academic costume called “UP Sablay” on Monday (February 24) to register their dissent in the administration’s decision to change the academic calendar.

It may be recalled that the Board of Regents decided last February 6 to implement a shift in the academic calendar from June-March to August-May in all constituent units except UP Diliman (UPD).

However, the UPD administration decided to push through with a faculty referendum from Monday to Wednesday (February 24 to 26) despite the initial decision of the UPD University Council (composed of assistant, associate and full professors) to vote against the shift in the academic calendar.

In a statement, the Congress of Teachers and Educators for Nationalism and Democracy called on UP professors to retain the current academic calendar. “The synchronization of our calendar with our Asian partners in higher education and the world does not guarantee the democratization of access to UP Diliman especially among the poor but deserving students…(T)he Administration has never given any sufficient and compelling reasons why we should rush the synchronization of our calendar with our partner universities. But as faculty we have all the reasons to demand that our University should focus rather on demanding greater state subsidy, equitable admission policy, and creating a truly nurturing environment and providing support facilities.”

In an open letter to the Commission on Higher Education, Dr. Doracie Nantes, a former UP professor who now teaches at Australia National University (ANU), said that “The Philippines is still an agricultural country with 60-80 percent of communities (depending on the level of economic development in each respective region) dependent on agriculture and fishery livelihood systems.” Given this, she asked, “How do we account for the negative implications of this change in academic calendar in relation to the availability of disposable income among farming and fishing families who like any other families in our country would like to send their young members to college so they can get better chances of being employed in less-taxing and better compensated jobs?”

Nantes also added that “Internationalization does not mean adjusting our class opening schedule to schools and universities in other countries so that the Filipino students will not have to wait several months to enrol in other universities abroad, or for the foreign students to enrol in our universities.” She also raised the following questions: “(A)re our schools for Filipinos or are we saying here that they are built to serve the educational needs of foreign students? Is the Philippine education system for all young members of the Philippine Society all over the country and not just for the few members of the more economically well-off members of the Filipino society – who are the only ones who can afford to send their children to the USA or Australia or Europe? May I ask whose interests are we serving here? Changing the academic calendar of the country should take these things into account.”

During the press conference of concerned UPD faculty members on Monday (February 24), 9:00 a.m. at Vinzons Hall in UP Diliman, those who expressed opposition to change the academic calendar were Dr. Emmanuel De Dios (UP School of Economics), Dr. Eduardo Tadem (Asian Center), Dr. Victor Paz (Archaeological Studies Program), Dr. Ramon Guillermo (College of Arts and Letters), Dr. Gerry Lanuza (College of Social Science and Philosophy) and Prof. Marivic Raquiza (National Center for Public Administration and Governance). Student Regent Krista Melgarejo also attended the press conference.

The nature of opposition is both procedural and political, the concerned faculty members stressed. At the forum held at the UPD National Institute of Physics last February 10, it was argued that there are clear disadvantages in changing the academic calendar to suit mainly Western standards, a practice that was done in 1963 but dropped two years later.

The concerned UP faculty members stressed that their objective is not just for UPD to have its own calendar but also for other constituent units to rethink their decision. “The decision to change UP’s academic calendar reflects the kind of governance the UP System currently has. The administration accepted at face value what the CU administrators the favorable decision submitted to them despite the lack of consultations and indepth discussions prior to making the decision.”

For verification and more details, please contact Prof. Danilo Arao, Department of Journalism, at (0908) 866-2726.




Danilo A. Arao
Assistant Professor, Department of Journalism

College of Mass Communication Plaridel Hall

University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman, Q.C. 1101

Telephone: (+632) 920-6852, 981-8500 loc. 2672

Fax: (+632) 920-6852

Mobile Phone: (+63908) 866-ARAO




Policeman mauls photojournalist during protest dispersal

Press Release

CMFR/Philippines – A policeman allegedly mauled a photojournalist after the dispersal of protesters in Davao City on 13 February 2013.  The Davao City mayor said he would investigate the matter after the journalists’ union condemned the incident.

Davao City is some 1,500 kilometers south of Manila.

Photojournalist Barry Ohaylan of Pinoy Weekly and Kilab Multimedia was covering a clash between protesters and the anti-riot police of the Davao City Police Office (DCPO) when a policeman hit him with a truncheon, resulting in injuries on his arm and a gash on  his forehead. Other protesters and media workers came to his rescue.

Farmers from Panacan village had gathered in front of the Eastern Mindanao Command Headquarter to protest military camps in their communities, Ohaylan told CMFR on 18 February 2014.

“The police already had control of the situation (when I was attacked). The protesters had already dispersed but they kept pushing forward,” Ohaylan said.

“I kept saying I was from the media. I was wearing my press badge and holding my camera, but a policeman still struck me on the arm, then on the forehead and elbow.”

Ohaylan added that the policeman who hit him also challenged other media workers to a fist-fight after the incident.

The Davao City chapter of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) condemned the incident and denounced a statement by DCPO Director Vicente Danao.

“Danao said that the media should not get in the way and if they do “parang kasama na rin nila (it’s like the media are one of the protesters),” NUJP’s statement said.

“We take this to mean that Danao and the police consider any journalist who covers direct confrontation (between authorities and protesters) as ‘getting in the way’ and as fair game to violence and similar treatment against ordinary citizens.”

In an interview with ABS-CBN Davao, Danao said the protesters were dispersed because they had no permit to rally and were obstructing traffic. He said media workers hurt in the dispersal were collateral damage.

On 17 February 2014, the online news site reported that Davao City mayor Rodrigo Duterte said he will launch an investigation on the mauling.

“I must conduct an investigation to clear things,” Duterte said according

With PNoy’s apathy towards killings, the bloodshed continues

Joas Dignos (Valencia, Bukidnon, November 29). Michael Milo (Tandag, Surigao del Sur, December 7). Rogelio Butalid (Tagum City, Davao del Norte, December 11). Three broadcasters murdered in Mindanao within two weeks. The 19th, 20th and 21st since Pres Benigno Aquino III came to office and the 159th, 160th and 161st since we became a “demoracy” again, a claim that becomes more tenuous with each media killing.


But no, this government, which came to power on the promise of justice and human rights and “daang matuwid” (a straight path) chooses not only to downplay the enormity of the problem but denigrates the victims by deigning to dismiss some of them as “not legitimate.”


Mr. Aquino, time and again you have made media your whipping boy, chastising is for “negativism.”

But we are dying here, your government’s inaction perpetuating the impunity with which not just we but so many others – activists, environmentalists, lawyers, indigenous people, the religious–continue to be murdered while your administration turns a blind eye and a cold heart to the bloodshed.

It is all too clear to use that your promises are meaningless.


You, by your apathy, are just as guilty as those who gave the orders to kill and those who pulled the trigger.


Our colleagues’ blood, as all the victims’ blood, shall ever stain your hands.

And we will make sure you do not forget that and will call you to account.

Rowena Paraan


Three killings and an attempted murder || Four journalists shot in two weeks


Two radio broadcasters were shot in separate incidents in cities of Tagum and Iloilo between last night (Dec. 10) and this morning (Dec. 11). One of them died on the spot, making him the third journalist murdered in a span of two weeks.


Minutes after his final broadcast, unidentified gunmen shot and killed Rogelio “Tata” Butalid, 46, blocktime commentator at Radyo Natin Tagum, right outside the station’s studios at Sobrecary St. in the city Wednesday morning.


Investigators said at around 9:00 am, Butalid was about to ride his motorcycle when the assailants fired shots at him. He sustained seven gunshot wounds.


Butalid, also a councilor of Bgy. (village) Mankilam, has been working for community radio since his college days. Before the killing, his commentaries have reportedly focused on electric power issues in Davao del Norte province (

Late last night (Dec. 10), unidentified assailants shot and wounded radio reporter Jhonavin Villalba, 43, of dyOK Aksyon Radyo Iloilo.


Villalba was opening the gate of his home in Bgy. Cuartero when two men aboard a motorcycle fired shots at him, according to the Iloilo chapter of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines.


The Iloilo-based commentator sustained gunshot wounds in his toe and ankle, and was immediately rushed to Iloilo Mission Hospital for treatment.


Investigators found spent shells of 9-millimeter calibre at the crime scene.


Butalid and Villalba are the third and fourth journalists attacked in shooting incidents during the past two weeks. Three of these four, including Villalba, died.


Last Friday (Dec. 6), Prime FM National Supervisor and program director Michael Milo was shot dead, also by unidentified gunmen, in Tandag City.


Milo was driving along Bgy. Mabua when the motorcycle gunmen riding suspects riddled him with bullets.

The NUJP Media Safety Office in Mindanao is currently investigating if Milo’s killing is work-related.

A week earlier, on Nov. 29, Bukidnon-based commentator Joas Dignos was shot dead in Valencia City. The motive appears to be work-related.


If also proven work-related, Bulid and Milo would be the 159th and 160th journalists killed in the line of duty since 1986.


So far, NUJP has recorded 19 work-related media murders, an average of six per year under Pres. Benigno Aquino III’s watch.


For reference
JB Deveza
Coordinator, NUJP Mindanao Safety Office

Rupert Mangilit
Coordinator, NUJP Media Safety Office
Sec. General, NUJP

Rowena Paraan
Chairperson, NUJP
Exec. Coordinator, NUJP Media Safety Office


HUMAN CHAIN TO REMEMBER: 4th year commemoration of the Ampatuan Massacre and the 3rd International Day to End Impunity

Good day!

Posted below, for reference, are details on the Human Chain on Nov. 22, to be participated by press freedom groups and communication students from different colleges and universities in Manila.

Also attached to this email is the poster for the activity. To further help in spreading the word about the Human Chain event, we request you to please post and share this on your respective social media accounts.

Feel free to email or call me (0916 222 1055) for questions. Thanks and see you all on the 22nd.

Rupert Mangilit
Sec. General, NUJP

HUMAN CHAIN TO REMEMBER: 4th year commemoration of the Ampatuan Massacre and the 3rd International Day to End Impunity


November 23 marks the fourth year since the Ampatuan Massacre, the sorry incident that left 58 people dead, including 32 journalists, and has since placed the Philippines in the list of the most murderous countries for journalists.

The slow pace of the massacre case and the 10 other media cases on trial mocks not only the memory of the fallen journalists, but also freedom of the press in the country. One cannot deny the chilling effect brought about by these incidents to those who work to report and speak the truth.

This year, press freedom groups such as the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines, Philippine Press Institute, Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility, Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas, Philippine Center for Photojournalism, and the Center for Community Journalism and Development, will come together in a human chain on Nov. 22 (Friday).

The human chain aims to show solidarity and unity among members of the Philippine media. Together, they remain united in upholding free press and free expression.

The fine print
Assembly is at 3:00 pm, at the Rajah Sulayman Park in Roxas Blvd. The designated area for the human chain is the Baywalk stretch from Rajah Sulayman to P. Ocampo (near CCP Complex entrance).
At 3:45 pm, participants shall start lining up and occupy the designated area.

A program, to be held at a flatbed truck, starts at 4:00 pm. The moving program will have speakers from participating media organizations (NUJP, PPI, CMFR, PCIJ, PCP, KBP and CCJD) and a representative from the participating schools.

The truck will stop at four stations. One to two speakers will speak at each station. While waiting for the truck to stop at a certain station, participating schools will perform to help keep the human chain participants in place.

There will be one moderator assigned for the moving stage and four main marshals to help in keeping the chain organized. Each participating group (media organizations, student groups) shall each have point persons to look over their respective contingents.

NUJP denounces detention and expulsion of IFJ Asia Pacific Director, member

Nov. 1, 2013

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines is outraged over Sri Lanka’s detention and expulsion of IFJ Asia Pacific director Jacqui Park and colleague Jean Worthington.

Reports from Sri Lanka say the two were detained at a hotel in Colombo where they were meeting with colleagues from the Free Media Movement and then were “subjected to lengthy grilling” by immigration and criminal police officials.

Authorities claim the two, who entered Sri Lanka as tourists, had violated their visa conditions through “anti-government” activism.

Since when, we ask, has simply meeting and talking to colleagues and friends been “anti-government”?

This, plus Sri Lanka’s bloody record of media killings — a good number of which strongly point to the involvement of the government or its security agencies — and expulsion of foreign journalists it does not agree with only proves that its government has absolutely no interest in promoting democracy and basic rights.

We call on our colleagues around the world to denounce this outrage, and on all democratic governments to press Sri Lanka to respect human rights or risk losing its standing in the community of free nations.

For reference
Rowena Paraan


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