Define Libel


Filipina Wanderer defines Libel.

¹A libel is a malicious, false statement in written media, a broadcast, or otherwise published words. 

According to wikipedia, Defamation—also called calumny, vilification, traducement, slander (for transitory statements), and libel (for written, broadcast, or otherwise published words)—is the communication of a statement that makes a claim, expressly stated or implied to be factual, that may give an individual, business, product, group, government, religion, or nation a negative or inferior image. This can be also any disparaging statement made by one person about another, which is communicated or published, whether true or false, depending on legal state.

ELEMENTS OF LIBEL

1. Defamatory imputation - that lowers the esteem, honor or respect that a person is regarded

2. Publicity - must be seen or known by a third person, other than whom the libelous statement is addressed

3. Identification - the person libeled must be identified

4. Malice - if there is no good intention or justified motive for the defamatory statement. Reckless disregard for the truth.

If we remember the libel case of Dra. Vicky Belo versus Atty. Argee Guevarra, the first Philippine Facebook libel case  wherein the lawyer  posted “slanderous” comments on his Facebook page in 2009. She didn’t win the case. Now any slanderous comments can be a ground for libel.

With this new rule going on, a smart person can sue us for libel just by commenting on facebook or any social media. We can be sued for our opinions on topics that we do not like. We may not be able to express our feelings since we are prohibited by law. However, this also gives us the right to protect ourselves for those people who judges us. If our reputation and the public acceptance is our priority, this gives us an edge for only receiving good feedback. This only lead us to “be careful on what you post and what you like”.

♣Atty. Jose Jesus “JJ” Disini Jr., a cyber law expert said:
“When you put something on your Facebook, you’re publishing it at the very least to your friends. But in libel law, even if you send [a libelous statement] to 2 or 3 people, that’s libel. That’s enough to meet the standard for publication in libel”
 “The same goes for anyone else on the Facebook who ‘cut and pasted’ a libelous statement and republished it. You yourself commit libel,”
Under Article 353 of the Revised Penal Code of the Philippines, libel is defined as a public and malicious imputation of a crime, or of a vice or defect, real or imaginary, or any act, omission, condition, status or circumstance tending to discredit or cause the dishonor or contempt of a natural or juridical person, or to blacken the memory of one who is dead. Thus, the elements of libel are: (a) imputation of a discreditable act or condition to another; (b) publication of the imputation; (c) identity of the person defamed; and, (d) existence of malice.  [Daez v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 47971, 31 October 1990, 191 SCRA 61, 67]

²”In libel cases, the question is not what the writer of an alleged libel means, but what the words used by him mean.”

While gathering information with this post, I realize that this also touches the issue about our openness about constructive criticism. An opinion made by others can hurt us especially if this opinion is the truth. There are 3 ways to deal with criticism.
  • One, take it positively. If you are an optimist, you take this words, change what we have to change and become a better person.
  • Two, cry like a baby. We may still move on but we don’t make an initiative to change. We still live inside the criticism. We breath it as we are part of it.
  • And lastly, we sue for libel or we attack the person. In the Philippines, we don’t usually sue people. I may be wrong. But whenever a person commits a crime against us, we either take it lightly or we are too afraid or too busy to file a suit. Probably in this modern times, our government wants us to be active to participate in change. Maybe or maybe not.

ARTICLE 3, SECTION 4 of the 1987 Philippine Constitution

³”No law shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech, of expression, or of the press, or the right of the people to assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances.”

♦Tagalog/Filipino translation: “Hindi dapat magpatibay ng batas na nagbabawas sa kalayaan sa pananalita, pagpapahayag, o pamamahayag, o sa karapatan ng mga taong-bayan na mapayapang makapag-tipon at magpetisyon sa pamahalaan upang ilahad ang kanilang mga karaingan”.

Prohibiting someone to express his thoughts on certain issues is taking the right of a person for freedom of speech. Blogging is one medium where we the citizens of this country can freely express our voices. Many bloggers post their rantings about their political or religious views, some create articles about their love for art, fashion or travel, there are others who get paid to make reviews about restaurants, hotels or events.  Blogging is a freedom of expression. It is like keeping a diary or a journal. You vent out your emotions so you can be free and we can act normal again.

We may want to check and verify our actions by checking the blogger’s code of ethics. It says: be honest and fair, minimize harm, and be accountable. My only question now. Does the new cyber crime law prohibits us to blog and express our feelings or does it saves us?

You may also want to check our post about REPUBLIC ACT 10175 AKA CYBERCRIME PREVENTION ACT OF 2012

***FYI: This post is created to make the readers be informed with the current issues in our country. This is a collaboration of thoughts from various sources. Citations are included. Filipina Wanderer is not a lawyer and is not practicing law in any forms.
Sources:

4 thoughts on “Define Libel

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s