(2nd Lead) OSG says journalists need not fear Cybercrime Law

January 29, 2013 11:22 pm 

By Perfecto Raymundo

MANILA, Jan. 29 — The Office of the Solicitor General Tuesday said journalists have no reason to fear Republic Act No. 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012.

During Tuesday's oral arguments, Solicitor General Francis H. Jardeleza said a journalist who writes for both online and newspaper cannot be separately prosecuted following the "Single Publication Rule."

"If the article is posted on the internet and published in the newspaper or the article appears in the morning paper and also appeared on the newspapers evening edition, it is considered single publication," Jardeleza said.

Under the "Single Publication Rule", a complainant for libel has only one claim for every mass publication.

Jardeleza made the clarification after he was questioned by the Justices of the Supreme Court on Section 7 of the Cybercrime Law which allows prosecution under the law and simultaneously prosecuted for violation of the Revised Penal Code.

Section 7 of the Cybercrime Law provides "a prosecution under this Act shall be without prejudice to any liability for violation of any provision of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, or special laws."

Jardeleza said Section 7 does not include libel.

"Libel is specially mentioned as content offense but Congress did not provide separate penalty for that so-called content libel," he said.

He added Section 7 refers to other cybercrime offenses.

However, Associate Justice Teresita J. Leonardo-De Castro said "it [Section 7] does not say libel is excluded…It is not reflected in the language of the law. It [Section 7] does not say that these are different offenses."

On the other hand, Senior Associate Justice Antonio T. Carpio said Section 7 violates the prohibition against double jeopardy which means that no person shall be tried for the same offense twice. (PNA)



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