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DAVAO CITY, Philippines -- Davao media pushed for the decriminalization of libel, which a bill pending in Congress proposes, and the reactivation of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines Davao City chapter Legal Assistance Desk for Mediamen.
The calls were made at a forum initiated by Philippine Press Institute Mindanao head Jesus Dureza at the Ateneo De Davao University here.
Dureza said after the Davao City leg, PPI-Mindanao will hold similar forums in other areas of Mindanao, and later, with other sectors.
He said a strong consensus from media and other sectors should be generated before lobbying for the libel decriminalization bill.
Dureza dismissed apprehensions that media killings might worsen if libel is decriminalized.
“We don’t agree that more murders in media will be perpetrated if the crime of libel is decriminalized, because whether libel is decriminalized or not, the killings will continue,” he said.
He also believes media organizations, as professionals, will police their ranks or create substitute methods to prevent abuses in the practice of journalism once libel is decriminalized.
Lawyer Carlos Zarate, secretary general of the Union of Peoples’ lawyers in Mindanao and vice president for Mindanao of National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers said they will work for the reactivation of the IBP-Davao’s Media Legal Assistance Desk, which was created in 1999.