Cito Beltran, columnist of the Philippine Star, lauded the Cebu media for its efforts to preserve press freedom and said the Cebu media can be a strong lobbying force for the decriminalization of libel.
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spoke during the "Government and Media in a World of No Wang-wang" forum organized as part of the 17th Cebu Press Freedom Week.
said the media will gain more from the decriminalization of libel than from a law on freedom of information.
"You don't need a law on freedom of information if you're a hardworking media practitioner," he
The Freedom of Information bill, which the House of Representatives
failed to ratify last year because of the lack of quorum, provides a "clear, uniform, and speedy procedure" for access to information, including a quick and certain period of compliance.
also urged journalists to be both critical of and complimentary to the government.
"Being a media practitioner should not always be about fighting," he
"When you see something worthy of praise, praise it."
lamented that libel remains a crime in the country, even though several media practitioners have occupied national positions.