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Aquino: Online libel ruling won’t hinder freedom of expression

/ 12:33 PM February 19, 2014

AP FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—President Benigno Aquino III on Wednesday said the public should not be bothered by the Supreme Court ruling upholding the online libel provision of the cybercrime law.

“Will it hinder freedom of expression? I think that’s not the aim,” Aquino said during an ambush interview in Manila.

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The President, who admitted that he has yet to read the high court decision, said that while people have rights, there are also limitations.

He also said it would not be fair to have libel for traditional media and not online.

“If you switch to another format that would be exempted? I don’t think that’s acceptable,” he told media.

“If you know you speak the truth, why be worried about libel,” he added.

Aquino was at the Claro M. Recto High School in Manila for the inspection of new in-city resettlement buildings for the urban poor.

The SC on Tuesday upheld the constitutionality of the Cybercrime Prevention Act’s provision on libel but struck down another provision allowing the Department of Justice to block access to online content. The high court also explained that only the author of the libelous post, and not those who shared it, can be charged with libel.

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TOPICS: Cybercrime law, Freedom of expression, Internet, Libel
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