Monthly Archives: May 2009

The Right of Reply Bill; the Next to Impossible

If there is something that journalists do not want Congress to legislate is the right of reply bill which will surely bring more trouble to them and to anybody with the intention to express his political views and opinions once this will be enacted into law. This is self-serving to the politicians as journalists may lose the appetite to be critical of them in the press unveiling  their evil in the government. Once this becomes a law journalists need to take the extra effort to get the side also the politicians. Something that may impede press freedom and the autonomy of the press people to do their job.

But here is a more disgusting content of the bill as posted in the internet:

The Right of Reply bill will affect not only journalists, but also bloggers, texters, and users of social networking sites and other electronic devices, a lawmaker said Sunday.

Manila 6th district Rep. Bienvenido Abante, sponsor of House Bill 3306 or the Right of Reply Bill, admitted that the bill would also cover Web sites, emails, Internet social networking sites and other electronic devices in its scope, Kabataan Rep. Raymond “Mong” Palatino said in a statement Sunday.

Palatino said Abante admitted that fact during his interpellation of the bill in the lower House.

Palatino said it would not only affect press freedom but also could lead to Internet censorship and affect freedom of speech and expression of bloggers, texters, and even iPod users.

‘All internet users affected’

The bill’s Section 1 states that: “All persons natural or judicial who are accused directly or indirectly of committing, having committed, 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 in newspapers, magazines, newsletters or publications circulated commercially or for free, or aired or broadcast over radio, television, websites or through any electronic device.”

“The bill, therefore, would not only affect media outfits and journalists but also all website owners, website masters, email account holders and other netizens who are not necessarily media practitioners,” Palatino said in the statement.

“This would affect the more than five million bloggers and millions more of Internet users in the country. My fear is that when this bill comes to law, it will be used to regulate the content of the Internet,” he said.

“When we are checking our emails, when we open our Friendster or Facebook accounts, we are checking our websites. Does this mean that we will be compelled to moderate, modify or edit our personal websites? Is this not Internet censorship and suppression of freedom of speech and expression?” he added.

“Does this mean that whenever a criticism is published in these venues a person can use the Right of Reply to compel a blogger or moderator of a social networking site to publish a space or a reply for that person? Or when an individual decides to copy or re-post an article from a news website in his or her personal blog, and in the future the said article becomes a subject of this Right of Reply, will he or she be sanctioned or fined also?” Palatino added. ( From | 05/31/2009 5:26 PM)

I agree with Palatino’sview that this going to be a curtailment of the press freedom. On the other hand how in the world will you implement this kind of law with millions of internet users, bloggers, texters, etc., who one way or the other may share views through the digital and electronic media particularly in the cyberspace?  Do you think the politicians themselves or anybody being criticized in the media and internet, etc. could realistically respond to thousands and even millions of people who criticize them every hour of the day? This is something crazy and to be more specific “idiotic.” Rep. Bienvenido Abante, sponsor of House Bill 3306 or the Right of Reply Bill should have a better idea than this. I myself is against any infringement and curtailment to press freedom. This is to me is next to impossible. I stand corrected if you could convince me so.



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