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Journalist jailed in defamation case; libel laws "outdated, excessive and unreasonable," says IFJ

(IFJ/IFEX) - The following is an IFJ media release:

The Philippines libel laws "outdated, excessive and unreasonable", says IFJ

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has renewed its calls for the Philippines government to decriminalise libel, after another journalist was jailed for defamation in a lawsuit issued by a former congressman.

According to IFJ affiliate, the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP), Jofelle Tesorio, former correspondent of the Philippine Daily Inquirer and editor of Bandillo ng Palawan, and now with the Bangkok-based Asia News Network, is currently being held in Camp Karingal in Quezon City, after posting a bail sum of 20,000 pesos (approximately USD 440) on June 21. As of this writing, the judge has yet to sign her release paper.

Tesorio was convicted for publishing a series of articles dating back to 2003 relating to former Palawan congressman Vicente Sandoval Sr., the NUJP reports.

"The libel laws in the Philippines are outdated, excessive and unreasonable, and they are too often abused by those with power to silence journalists," IFJ Asia-Pacific Director Jacqueline Park said.

"No journalist should be jailed for doing their job, and the IFJ again calls for an overhaul of libel laws in the Philippines to remove defamation from the criminal code," Park said.

In April this year, radio journalist Alex "Lex" Adonis was jailed for four years for libel after revealing an affair involving Davao congressman Prospero Nograles. This was followed by the detention of Jun Alegre, a radio reporter in Legazpi City, because of a 10-year old libel case.

The IFJ represents over 500,000 journalists in more than 115 countries.

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