Decriminalizing Libel

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  • Topic: Defamation, Freedom of speech, Freedom of the press
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  • Published : May 3, 2011
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LIBEL SHOULD BE DECRIMINALIZED

LEGAL RESEARCH PAPER

Submitted to:

Atty. Jill Marie Lopez

By:

Lorenz Corpus

Gerald Dimalaluan

Dayne Espiritu

Neil Eustaquio

Ces Francisco

Darcee Galleon

Jason Gavina

Midi Gentica

Regina Gomez

Carlo Ilano

Noel Illescas

Nadia Karim

Angelo Lajarca

Group 2, 1D

SY 2010-11

table of contents

I.Definition of Libel3

II.Defenses in Libel5

III.Arguments for Decriminalizing Libel8

IV.Bills for Decriminalizing Libel12

V.Arguments against decriminalizing libel and Corresponding Rebuttals14

VI.Conclusion18

VII. Bibliography20

VIII. Appendix22

I. Definition of Libel

The Revised Penal code of the Republic of the Philippines defined libel in Title 13 Chapter 1 in Article 353 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 cause the dishonor, discredit, or contempt of a natural or juridical person, or to blacken the memory of one who is dead.”[1]

Defamation is actually the proper term for libel used in Article 353 of the Revised Penal Code[2] Libel is written defamation and slander is oral defamation.[3] It can be committed by means of writing, printing, lithography, engraving, radio, phonograph, painting, theatrical exhibition, cinematographic exhibition, or any similar means.[4]

1. Elements of Libel

The crime of libel, as defined in Article 353 of the Revised Penal Code, has the following elements: (1) Imputation of a crime, vice or defect, real or imaginary, or any act, omission, condition, status or circumstance; (2) Publicity or publication;

(3) Malice;
(4) Direction of such imputation at a natural or juridical person, or even a dead person and (5) Tendency to cause the dishonor, discredit or contempt of the person defamed. [5] Any of the imputations covered by Article 353 is defamatory and, under the general rule laid down in Article 354, every defamatory imputation is presumed to be malicious, even if it be true; if no good intention and justifiable motive for making it is shown. There is malice when the author of the imputation is prompted by personal ill-will or spite and speaks not in response to duty but merely to injure the reputation of the person who claims to have been defamed[6] In Article 354 of the same Code, every defamatory imputation is presumed to be malicious, even if it be true, if no good intention and justifiable motive for making it is shown. There is malice when the author of the imputation is prompted by personal ill-will or spite and speaks not in response to duty but merely to injure the reputation of the person who claims to have been defamed. Malice must be proven, under the following exceptions provided for in Article 354: 1. A private communication made by any person to another in the performance of any legal, moral or social duty; and 2. A fair and true report, made in good faith, without any comments or remarks; of any judicial legislative or other official proceedings which are not of confidential nature, or of any statement, report or speech delivered in said proceedings, or of any other act performed by public officers in the exercise of their functions.[7] In determining whether a statement is defamatory, the words used are to be construed in their entirety and should be taken in their plain, natural, and ordinary meaning as they would naturally be understood by the persons reading them, unless it appears that they were used and understood in another sense.[8] Libelous statements do not take any particular form. It may be an affidavit, a cartoon, or an editorial.[9]

II. Defenses in Libel

The most common argument in favor of the decriminalization of libel is the protection of...
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