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Palace: Don’t infringe on press freedom

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By Joel Guinto
First Posted 16:11:00 02/25/2009

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang cautioned lawmakers against impinging upon the freedoms of expression and of the press should Congress decide to pass the controversial right of reply bill.

Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita said that, especially in view of the 23rd anniversary on Wednesday of the People Power uprising that ousted the Marcos dictatorship, “We must guard with much zealousness freedom of the press and freedom of expression.”

“Should the bill be deliberated upon, it will be well for our lawmakers to understand that this is the very essence of democracy. There should be more discussions,” he told a news conference at the Palace.

“The caveat is to be sure it will not be an infringement on freedom of expression and freedom of the press,” he said.

Media groups are outraged over the measure, which seeks to mandate that the reactions of subjects in news stories be given equal prominence.

The bill has been passed in the Senate and is pending in the House.

Ermita also did not give an assurance on whether or not President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo would veto the right to reply bill, should the version that might be passed violate press freedom.

“It’s so speculative on our part…We just have to wait for it once it reaches the Palace,” he said.

But on a personal note, Ermita, who is concurrent presidential spokesman, said: “I’m quite satisfied with my dealings with mass media…I don’t think I could complain.”

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Written by joelguinto

WedUTC2009-02-25T08:33:42+00:00UTC02bUTCWed, 25 Feb 2009 08:33:42 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am02

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