Say NO to the Right to Reply Bill (Signature Campaign)

UNIFIED STATEMENT ON RIGHT TO REPLY BILL
1. The Right to Reply Bill is an ill-conceived piece of legislation that violates two of the most cherished freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution, those of the press and of expression.
2. It is both unfortunate and ironic that the principal authors of the bill in the two chambers of Congress ought to have known better, Senator Aquilino Pimentel Jr. having earned his reputation as a champion of civil rights and Bacolod Representative Monico Puentevella having been president of the Negros Press Club.
3. It is also clear, from the pronouncements of both lawmakers, that this bill is a product of the sorriest excuse for legislation – personal pique.
4. The House version of the bill, HB 3306, parrots the Senate’s SB2150 except it would have the reply run a day after receipt instead of the three days the Senate grants, and seeks to impose heftier fines and the absence of self-regulation (in the case of block-timers) and sunset clauses.
5. Both bills state that “all persons…who are accused directly or indirectly of committing, having committed or intending to commit any crime or offense defined by law, or are criticized by innuendo, suggestion or rumor for any lapse in behavior in public or private life shall have the right to reply to charges or criticisms published or printed in newspapers, magazines, newsletters or publications circulated commercially or for free, or aired or broadcast over radio, television, websites, or through any electronic devices.”
6. They also would mandate that these replies be “published or broadcast in the same space of the newspapers, magazine, newsletter or publication, or aired over the same program on radio, television, website or through any electronic device.”
7. The danger in the right to reply bill is that it would legislate what the media OUGHT to publish or air, while casting a chilling effect that could dissuade the more timorous from publishing or airing what they SHOULD.
8. The bills would free public officials, especially the corrupt – and they are legion – of accountability and give them carte blanche to force their lies on the suffering public.
9. As one article on the right to reply bill says, “It lumps together imputations of a crime with simple criticism ‘of any lapse in behavior in public or private life’ or what would otherwise be considered ‘fair comment.’ There is no judicial review. It does not differentiate direct and indirect criticism. It has been noted that under the proposed law a journalist does not even have to be in error to draw a right of reply claim.”
10. We would be the last to say that the Philippine media are without fault. Yes, we understand perfectly the frustration and anger of Pimentel and Puentevella over some media outlet’s refusal to air their sides on issues.
11. Alas, but we cannot allow the sins of the few to be an excuse for the wholesale muzzling of a free press and the suppression of free expression. To do so would to allow bad governance to triumph.
12. We call on Senator Pimentel and Representative Puentevella to withdraw their bills.
13. We urge the media and the people to close ranks against the passage of this bill, to challenge it before the Supreme Court if it is passed, and, if even that fails, to defy it by refusing to comply.
14. No less than our freedoms are at stake. This is a battle we cannot afford to lose.
February 9. 2009
Signed by:

1. Nestor Burgos, PDI
2. Nonoy Espina, inquirer.net
3. Sonny Fernandez, ABS-CBN Global
4. Rowena Paraan, PCIJ
5. Alwyn Alburo, GMA Network
6. Marlon Ramos, PDI
7. Dani Lucas, ABS CBN
8. Ilang-Ilang Quijano, Pinoy Weekly
9. May Rodriguez, Freelance
10. Julie Alipala, PDI
11. Cheryll Fiel, davaotoday.com
12. Jun Godoy, DXOC-Ozamis City
13. Arnell Ozaeta, Phil Star, DZMM
14. John Heredia, Filvision Alto Cable-Capiz
15. Desiree Caluza, PDI
16. Dabet Panelo, NUJP
17. Miriam Grace Go, Newsbreak
18. Sarah Katrina Maramag, College Editors Guild of the Philippines
19. Maurice Malanes, PDI
20. Jofelle Tesorio, ANN
21. Allen V. Estabillo, MindaNews
22. Jun Lopez, Malaya
23. Gerry Albert Corpuz, correspondent, Bulatlat.com and columnist, United Press International (UPI) Asia Online
24. Delfin T. Mallari Jr. PDI
25. Arlyn dela Cruz, NET-25/ Philippine Daily Inquirer
26. Rorie Fajardo, Philippine Human Rights Reporting Project
27. Ronalyn V. Olea, Bulatlat
28. Jun Ariolo N. Aguirre, Hala Birada News Weekly
29. Rey Tamayo, Jr., NUJP, Good News Services
30. Alexander Martin Remollino, Bulatlat
31. Vijae Alquisola, College Editors Guild of the Philippines
32. Elmer James Bandol, cbcpnews.com
33. Ansbert Joaquin, PDI
34. Kathleen T. Okubo, Northern Media Information Network
35. Dino Balabo, Philippine Star, Pilipino Star Ngayon, Mabuhay, CLBW
36. Inday Espina-Varona, Philippine Graphic
37. Susan N Palmes- Mindanao Gold Star, Cagayan de Oro
38. MALU CADELINA MANAR, Notre Dame Broadcasting Corporation, Kidapawan City, NUJP-Kidapawan City chapter
39. Rizaldy Jose GMA-Network
40. Danilo Arao, Bulatlat.com, Pinoy Weekly
41. Rey Tamayo, Jr., NUJP, Magandang Balita
42. Joey Aguilar, Punto Central Luzon/gmanews.tv
43. Marlon Alexander Luistro, GMA 7
44. Danny Esatacio, Balita
45. Jason Vallecer, Eyewatch
46. Olan Mape, Manila Star/ LD Chronicles
47. Bert Abrigo, GMA News
48. Francia Malabanan, GMANews.Tv
49. Ryan D. Rosauro, NUJP-Ozamis City
50. Ire Jo V.C. Laurente, Journal Group-Mindoro
51. Frencie L. Carreon, The PhilSouth Angle
52. Ederic Eder, Tinig.com
53. Reil Briones- Bandilyo/ Kiss FM
54. Candace T. Giron, Freelance Journalist
55. Maricar Cinco, PDI
56. Nanette L. Guadalquiver, The Visayan Daily Star, BusinessWorld
57. Renz Belda DZRH/ DWAW Batangas
58. Angel Ayala, Bicol Media/Radio Natin Sorsogon/NUJP Sorsogon
59. Dodong Solis, RMN/DXDC Davao
60. Lalaine Marcos Jimenea, publisher of Eastern Visayas Mail (EV Mail) and Eastern Samar Reporter and http://www.evmailnews.com
61. Joyce Panares, Manila Standard Today
62. Abigail T. Bengwayan, Northern Dispatch
63. Cesar S. Ramirez,The Philippine STAR
64. Genivi Factao, Business Insight (Malaya)
65. Trina Federis, College Editors Guild of the Philippines
66. Thony Arcenal – PolicefilesTonite,DZME1530Khz, CLMA

67. Voltaire Domingo, NPPA Images – Manila
68. P.James M. Tremedal, http://www.mpilgrim.tk / http://www.pag-enews.tk
69. Sonia M. Capio, DWNE 900 kHz
70. Joey E. Tamunda, GV-AM 792Khz, Balitalakayan – Central Luzon
71. Mark Anthony N. Manuel, Manila Bulletin
72. Edwin G. Espejo, Freelance Journalist
73. Jess Malabanan, CL Daily/Bandera/Reuters/abs-cbn.com
74. Jinky Jorgio, Freelance Journalist/local coordinator BBC
75. Tonette T. Orejas, PDI correspondent
76. Dino Balabo, Philippine Star
77. Ariel D. Borlongan, Bigwas, Jaryo Alisto
78. Elina M. Velasco-Ramo, Northern Dispatch
79. El Interino, bulatlat.com/asianpress.net
80. Ryan D. Rosauro, PDI

81. Darwin Wally T. Wee, NUJP ZamBaSulTa chapter, BusinessWorld
82. Hazel S. Alvarez, ABS CBN-Bacolod
83. Butch Gunio, Central Luzon Business Week
84. Arturo Boquiren, Northern Dispatch Weekly and The Weekly Junction
85. Aquiles Z. Zonio/PDI Correspondent (Socsargen)
86. International Federation of Journalists-Asia Pacific
87. Alliance, A Journalists Association in Australia
88. Ma. Cecilia Rodriguez, Correspondent, Philippine Daily Inquirer
89. Federico D. Pascual Jr., Philippine Star, ManilaMail.com
90. Vergel Santos, Business World
91. Joe Pavia, Philippine Press Institute
92. Luis Teodoro, Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility
93. Jessica Soho, GMA News and Public Affairs
94. Howie Severino, GMA News and Public Affairs
95. Ed Lingao, ABC TV-5
96. Charie Villa, ABS CBN News
97. Isagani Yambot, Philippine Daily Inquirer
98. Sandra Aguinaldo, GMA Network
99. Mark Merueñas, gmanews.tv
100. Billy Begas, Bandera
101. Antonio Gabriel, ABC TV-5
102. Ramir Padua,
103. Manuel Tupas,
104. Danny Santos, Sunshine Radio DZAR
105. Rorie Fajardo, CCJD / Phil Human Rights Reporting Project
106. Erika Tapalla, inquirer.net
107. Sherrie Ann Torres, ABC TV-5
108. Amor Barbo Docado, ABS CBN Global
109. Ferlina Mangcal, ABS CBN Global
110. Roy Gersalia, PDI, Sorsogon Newsweek
111. Artemio Dumlao, Philippine Star
112. Ruben Alabastro, Philippine Daily Inquirer
113. Tony Bergonia, Philippine Daily Inquirer
114. Leti Boniol, Philippine Daily Inquirer
115. Sandra P. Sesdoyro, Philippine Daily Inquirer
116. Richard R. Gappi, NUJP-Rizal
117. M.A. Kit Bagaipo, PDI, Bohol Chronicle, dyRD-AM
118. Francis Allan L. Angelo, executive editor, The Daily Guardian (Iloilo) http://www.thedailyguardian.com
119. Raffy Beltran, ABS CBN Global
120. Jeffrey M. Tupas, Philippine Daily Inquirer
121. Germelina Lacorte, Correspondent, Philippine Daily Inquirer
122. Rene Acosta, Business Mirror

2 Comments

  1. I agree.

    The press is free because the only limits to its freedom are truth and libel. If the subject of an article felt wronged, the media should not be the place to determine the rightness or wrongness of the article. The court is. Otherwise it would be an endless parade of ‘right-to-reply’ articles dominating the media which will bankcrupt the newspapers, Radio, and TV companies.

    Nebuchadnezzar Alejandrino
    Cambridge, MA

    • Thanks for your comment.


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