Given the statutory text, the history of the concept of criminal libel, and our court’s experience with libel, I am of the view that its continued criminalization especially in platforms using the internet unqualifiedly produces a chilling effect that stifles our fundamental guarantees of free expression. Criminalizing libel contradicts our notions of a genuinely democratic society.

Supreme Court AssociateJustice Marvic Leonen


Freedom won, freedoms lost; Black Tuesday on EDSA anniv PCIJ Blog
Cyber-protest by Radikalchick


  1. Ina,
    As they say, there is nothing to fear except fear itself. If one is a responsible writer/critic who abides by the Ethical code of journalism and asserts a premise with an unassailable evidence, one need not sense apprenhension of legal penalties. Since cyber media cannot filter out automatically what is morally objectionable or ethically acceptable standard of personal view without invading the private right of individual to lend itself to self-censorship, the govt must devise mechanism to protect such Constitutional prerogative. No ifs no buts, just simple equity of the right to state protection.

  2. there’s something i’ve always wondered about this. if ina can respond, that’d be great:

    “She then reprimanded me for not having interviewed her before writing the entry: “Ask for an intvw—before making libelous charges based on assumptions alone. Wouldn’t publish without it.”
    The silence that followed was deafening…..”

    so, is there mere suggestion of libel that onerous? She never filed any case? Are we not free to describe something as libelous?

    if you agree with ina, do you also think the notion of libel itself– never mind the criminalization of it– is itself destructive to freedom.

    is this the case? if so, why?

    • Decriminalizing libel is not the answer to protect the right to freedom of expression. There are too many dead journalists,publishers, PR practitioners and even judges who did not have a day in the court to argue their case. This proved that even if you design to cloth the mantle of security to law and order, our culture has allowed to put justice in their hands thru hired killers in tandem.