By Rina Jimenez-David
“I must have led a blameless life,” I quipped to my companions as we stood outside the Pasay City Hall of Justice Wednesday afternoon. For the first time in my life, I was going to enter a court room and experience a court hearing, and what do you know, the case involved an issue concerning reproductive health—and free speech, freedom of assembly, and freedom of religion, even.
Who should go to prison for speaking his mind? In the modern democratic project, the answer is clear: No one. The conviction of social activist Carlos Celdran for the obscure crime of “offending the religious feelings,” then, raises many questions. Is the Philippines a modern democracy? Is freedom of speech a living civic virtue? Are [...]
By Conrado de Quiros
I’m glad several senators have bestirred themselves to try to undo the harm they did for voting for the Cybercrime Prevention bill. That piece of legislation earned the ire of netizens and media practitioners alike, as seen in editorials and widespread sentiment in social media condemning it. Teofisto Guingona III has asked the Supreme Court to nullify the libel penalty provisions of the law. And Chiz Escudero and Alan Peter Cayetano pledged to sponsor bills to amend the same thing.
This refers to the letter titled “If this letter-writer is real and an alien, deport him” (Inquirer, 6/15/12).
By Mahar Mangahas
Last March 29, when BusinessWorld put out its SWS-based report, “Filipinos anxious over outcome of Corona trial,” I posted it on Facebook with the comment: “An SWS report is not addressed to anyone in particular, but is for the information of everyone in general. SWS is neutral regarding the trial, and has no recommendations for anyone’s action regarding it. Awareness of public opinion is recommended; heeding it is optional. What is obligatory is to respect the people’s right of freedom of expression.”
When Kurt Westergaard, the Danish cartoonist, drew in December 2005 a cartoon depicting Muhammad in a “blasphemous” way, the Islamic world called for his death. (Every pious Muslim, who has the duty to protect Islam, is bound to get rid of this heathen for the glory of Allah.) There were riots all over the Muslim [...]
By Fr. Joaquin G. Bernas S. J.
Art, or what different people call art, is or can be a form of expression. Like any expression it is protected by the freedom of speech clause of the Constitution. There are only two forms of expression that are not protected by the Constitution: libel and obscenity. Sacrilegious expression which is not libelous nor obscene [...]
By Florin T. Hilbay
The test of a society’s commitment to freedom of expression lies in its defense of marginalized forms of speech. I say in class, free speech is for speech that you hate, not for speech that you like. The logic of the principle is simple: we don’t need to protect society’s treasured ideas and institutions—they pose [...]