There has been a revival of an effort to lobby the “decriminalization” of libel in the Philippines, making it a civil rather than a criminal case. This means one has to only pay for damages and skip jail time.
At least 43 journalists in the Philippines now face libel cases– all filed by the First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo. Because of this, there is now an online protest going around signed by over 300 local journalists who are endorsing the online protest against this effort to “silence critics,” according to this blog of the Northern Dispatch Weekly, a local newspaper from Northern Luzon. Read the report at INQ7.net Infotech.
Related to this, a USA Today report has listed down an increasing number of libel cases filed against bloggers and websites. This is sending the message that we should be more careful about what we write online. Next thing we know, people will be suing us for a defamatory e-mail or posting on a public message board.