NUJP STATEMENT: “Responsible exercise” of freedom of speech, expression and the press enshrines prior restraint

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January 16, 2018

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines firmly opposes the proposal of the House Sub-Committee on Constitutional Amendments to change Article III, Sec 4 of the 1987 Constitution to read:

“No law shall be passed abridging the ‘responsible exercise’ of freedom of speech, of expression, or of the press, or the right of the people to peaceably assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances.”

This proposal is as dangerous as it is, to put it as plainly as possible, stupid.

It would, in effect, enshrine prior restraint as part of the basic law of the land and spell the end of the INALIENABLE rights and freedoms this particular provision seeks to protect.

Shame on Deputy Speaker Fredenil Castro for defending this abomination by claiming that “this time, if you go around, there is so much abuse of this freedom, they think it is unrestrained.”

If those supposed to protect and promote our most basic liberties can deign to snatch these away through such devious means, it is not farfetched to suspect that they intend to turn the Constitution into an abomination to enslave, not free, much less protect us.

We call on all independent Filipino journalists and media groups, and on all our fellow citizens who cherish freedom to come together and discuss how we can prevent this brazen attempt to hijack democracy.

Let us resolve to take common action lest we again lose everything.

Reference:
Atty. Jocelyn Clemente, Acting Chair
Ms. Dabet Panelo, Secretary General
NUJP hotline: 09175155991

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