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Broadcaster cleared of libel charges after seven-year legal battle

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

Libel Case Cleared Against Philippines Broadcaster After Seven Years

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) welcomes reports that broadcaster Jun Digamon has finally been cleared of libel charges after a seven year legal battle against a former local TV celebrity.

According to the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP), an IFJ affiliate, a Regional Trial Court Branch 17 judge found last week that there was no evidence of libel in Digamon's reporting and commentary for Radyo Bombo over an alleged affair between celebrity Jeanette Lomanta and Davao congressman Prospero Nograles.

Nograles and Lomanta sued several reporters, including Digamon and fellow Radyo Bombo journalist Alex Adonis.

In April 2007 Adonis, 43, was sentenced to four years' jail after not being able to afford to defend himself against the libel charge.

"We welcome Digamon's acquittal and repeat that there is no place for criminal libel in the Philippines," IFJ Asia-Pacific Director Jacqueline Park said.

"Journalists have a duty to report on all issues in the public interest. While today we applaud the decision to clear Digamon of criminal charges, we remember that Adonis is in jail merely for doing his job."

The IFJ joins the NUJP in issuing an urgent plea to the Philippines government to abolish the draconian libel laws so that all journalists can continue with their courageous work.

The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 120 countries worldwide.

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