BATU, Indonesia. Photo by Jes Aznar

Sunday, January 27, 2008

what I did this morning

Journalists file P10-M class suit vs gov’t

For threats to press freedom

By Nonoy Espina
First Posted 13:21:00 01/28/2008

MANILA, Philippines -- Journalists and media organizations filed Monday a class suit seeking damages against the government for threats to press freedom.

The suit, which also seeks a preliminary mandatory injunction and/or temporary restraining order against further threats and future arrests of journalists, was filed at the Makati regional trial court.

It seeks P10 million in damages that the plaintiffs said was intended to drive home the point that it would be “costly for those who would abuse the power momentarily entrusted to them by the sovereign citizens of this land.”

The case is an offshoot of the arrest of journalists after government forces put down an attempted uprising by mutinous soldiers who occupied the Manila Peninsula Hotel in Makati City last November 29 and subsequent threats to carry out similar arrests if media refused to obey government orders.

The government officials named as respondents were Justice Secretary Raul Gonzales, Local Government Secretary Ronaldo Puno, Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro, and military and police officers.

Among the organizations that initiated the filing of the class were the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines, Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility, and the Philippine Press Institute.