Press freedom may be identified with the liberty to discuss publicly and truthfully any matter of public concern without censorship or punishment. The general principle is that freedom of expression is the rule and restrictions the exemption. The power to exercise prior restraint is not to be presumed, rather the presumption is against its validity.
* The principal petitioner is Jose Antonio U. Gonzalez, President of the Malaya Films. * The respondent is the Board of Review for Motion Pictures and Television (BRMPT), with Maria Kalaw Katigbak as its Chairman and Brig. Gen. Wilfredo C. Estrada as its Vice-Chairman, also named respondents. * On October 23, 1984, a permit to exhibit the film Kapit sa Patalim under the classification "For Adults Only," with certain changes and deletions enumerated was granted by a sub-committee of the BRMPT. * Motion for reconsideration was filed by petitioners stating that the classification of the film "For Adults Only" was without basis. For petitioners, such classification "is without legal and factual basis and is exercised as impermissible restraint of artistic expression. The film is an integral whole and all its portions, including those to which the Board now offers belated objection, are essential for the integrity of the film. Viewed as a whole, there is no basis even for the vague speculations advanced by the Board as basis for its classification.” * The respondents in their answer submitted that the standard of the law (Executive Order 878) for classifying films afford a practical and determinative yardstick for the exercise of judgment. For them, the question of the sufficiency of the standards remains the only question at issue.
* WoN the standards employed by the BRMPT are sufficient and conform to what the Constitution ordains.
* YES. Petition dismissed.
* The importance of motion pictures as an organ of public opinion is not...