Check out Senate Bill 2150 and House Bill 3306
These two new bill (The Right to Reply Bill) has recently drawn some attention as it recognizes the rights of persons to reply to media reports or commentaries that are erroneous, unfair or biased against them and injurious to their reputation.
The bill which has been filed as early as April 2008 states that:
… all persons who are accused directly or indirectly of any crime or offense 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 the charges published in newspapers and other publications or to criticisms aired over radio, television, website or through any electrical device.
In essence, this bill could also include blogs (websites). That means if you accuse an individual or entity in your blog, you will be required by this bill to publish their reply in the same space where you first published your entry. It’s not clear if the “space” means the “same entry/webpage” or just the “same website/blog”.
Likewise, if the accused leaves a comment on the blog entry, the blogger will be required to approve the comment (regardless of the tone and language of the content?). At least that’s how I read it.
The Senate version was authored by Senators Aquilino Pimente, Jr., Ramon Revilla, Jr., and Chiz Escudero. The House version was filed by Bacolod Rep. Monico Puentevella.
Fines and penalties prescribed are as follows (for the House Bill):
– Php10,000 for the 1st offense
– Php30,000 for the 2nd offense
– Php50,000 and imprisonment for not more than 30 days for the 3rd offense
– Php100,000 and imprisonment for not more than 30 days for the 4th offense
Then, a Php200,000 fine and imprisonment for not more than 30 days and the closure/suspension of the franchise of the publication or broadcast media outlet or station for 30 days for the 5th and succeeding offenses.
If the bill passes and becomes a law, I’m not sure how they will handle this. What if Malu Fernandez wrote something nasty about the 8 million OFWs worldwide — should all 8 million be given space on the publication to reply? The printing cost alone will bankrupt the publication.