EDITORIAL 

Be warned of laws on libel, slander cyber-libel

AS the local campaign period approaches, we are beginning to read and hear black propaganda, i.e., defamatory statements and fake news in both the traditional media (print and broadcast) and social media by supporters of opposing candidates.

The recent radio broadcast that slandered the Inang Mahal party-list aired by a regular  (blocktime) commentary program over DWIZ is indicative of how freedom of speech is widely being abused not only by media practitioners but by netizens on Facebook.

It seems many are not taking the laws on libel, cyber-libel and slander seriously. Judging by the rate of inflammatory and insults being aired and printed, we could very well discern that over a hundred media practitioners and netizens are already candidates for conviction and commitment to jail.

Slanderous statements aired over the radio need not be heard or recorded personally by aggrieved parties at the time of the broadcast since the evidence can be sourced from the host radio stations who are required by law to keep a recording of all broadcasts over a period. Failure or refusal of a radio station to produce the recording can be made accountable for obstruction of justice or a ground for cancellation of franchise.

Like published libelous statements in newspapers, the postings on Facebook that remain posted for everyone to read and share makes the poster and those who shared the posts accountable to the law. In fact, libel committed on internet provides for double the penalties prescribed for libel in print publications.

To our colleagues in media and friends on Facebook, we urge you to stop tempting the situation. Making defamatory statements and insulting others by their physical appearance will have their comeuppance and one’s momentary braggadocio may end up as one’s most serious regret in life.

Go apologizes to Kris

BONG Go is learning the ropes of the political game faster than Lewis Hamilton’s Formula 1 racecar. After cracking a joke at Kris Aquino, Go made a 360-degree turn when the actress cried foul.  The senate-seeking Go, making a dig at the failed romance between Kris Aquino and actor Phillip Salvador, sort of pricked a raw nerve. The usually self-absorbed SAP (Special Assistant to the President) told Salvador on stage in a campaign sortie this week that “you tricked Kris into falling in love with you.”  That immediately angered Kris, she of the onion-skinned Aquino trademark.  “I sincerely apologize and I didn’t mean to hurt you, Kris,” said Go. “Please forgive me.” With that, Go earned praise nationwide for acting the gentlemanly way.  The lesson learned?  When running for a public position, never make fun of anyone—particularly women.  It can backfire.

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