Press Release
February 28, 2009

I stand on the side of press freedom

The right-of-reply issue has nothing to do with fearing media nor with the 2010 elections. Rather, it has everything to do with imposing unnecessary restraints on media.

This is not the first attempt to pass a right-of-reply bill in the Senate. A similar bill was filed in the pre-martial law chamber but did not prosper.

Then as now, the position of Eddie Monteclaro, president of the National Press Club at that time, remains relevant.

He said: "The right of reply is better than realized through editorial discretion and voluntary acts rather than through forcible dictation through state machinery which infringes upon a basic freedom."

Public servants, as they say, live in glass houses, and they must steel themselves from criticism while in the service of the people.

I have had my share of criticism and continue to be pilloried, at times, by the media. When one is on the side of truth, however, one does not need to fear media.

We cannot legislate responsibility. Self-regulation is the best option. I have crossed the line; I stand on the side of press freedom.

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