Libel, fraud laws also cover bloggers, CMFR chair says


Posted at Oct 05 2017 11:05 PM

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Journalists are not the only ones covered by the concept of fairness, Vergel Santos of the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR) said on Thursday.

Santos, a veteran journalist, said that under the law, anyone can be sued for libel, slander, and fraud.

"I didn’t know that fairness only applied to journalists. I though fairness in fact applies to everybody whether you are a journalist, a blogger, a government official… I think it was a basic virtue that everyone should aspire for," he said on ANC.

Santos' comments come in light of Communications Asec. Mocha Uson's remarks in a Senate hearing on the spread of fake news wherein she claimed that only mainstream media have the obligation to get both sides of the story.

Uson in the said hearing, defended her posts on social media from senators by claiming that blogging is opinion-based.

Santos clarified that he is not against Uson's argument that she has the freedom of expression, but he noted that bloggers like her are still subject to the law.

"Laws of libel, slander, fraud cover everyone, not just journalists, not just people dealing with information but everyone. So bloggers are covered by those laws," he said.

"Once a blogger crosses the line, a blogger can be taken to court. It's simply sensible enough," he added.

-ANC Top Story, October 5, 2017