Supreme Court suspends implementation of cybercrime law Martial Law Reborn
Worst assualt on free expression since 1972 Martial Law in Philippine cyberspace

Criminal libel is one of the most abused means to suppress free expression and press freedom in the Philippines.

The fear of possible imprisonment and the imposition of hefty fines has on many occasions silenced press criticism of government officials and even the reporting of matters of public interest. Journalists and media advocacy groups like the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR) and the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) have called for the decriminalization of libel for decades. They have asked Congress to amend the provisions on libel of the 82-year-old Revised Penal Code. By far the most significant development in the Philippine campaign to decriminalize libel is the United Nations Human Rights Committee’s (UNHRC) October 2011 declaration that the criminal sanction for libel in the Philippines is “excessive” and in violation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) in which the Philippines is a signatory.

Despite the UNHRC declaration that it is incompatible with human rights law, libel suits are still being filed against journalists, in many cases to limit criticism of public officials and other powerful individuals.

Related Links: