Tabloid legislation renamed

11/10/2011 - CEBU, Philippines - The committee on laws of the Provincial Board has renamed the proposed anti-tabloid ordinance to “Anti-Obscenity Ordinance of 2011” and has set the same for second reading during its regular session on Monday.

The principal author of the proposed ordinance, Vice Governor Agnes Magpale, said the word “tabloid” has been omitted from the original title.

The proposed ordinance “prohibits the sale, distribution, or exhibition of obscene printed or written materials within the Province of Cebu.”

Under the new proposal, obscene is defined as something lewd, impure, or indecent and is calculated to shock the moral senses of man by a disregard of chastity or modesty.

It also refers to some conduct that tends to corrupt the public morals by its indecency or lewdness.

Printed or written materials include but are not limited to magazines, books, newspapers, tabloids, brochures, pamphlets, leaflets, flyers, tarpaulins or posters and their content whether of local, national, or international coverage and circulation.

The original proposal has met opposition from Cebu news media practitioners and the Cebu Media Legal Aid, which is composed of lawyers who are in media, for being “unconstitutional, unnecessary, and dangerous.”

Committee chairman PB Member Peter John Calderon earlier said the ordinance will not cover radio programs because these already have a self regulating organization, the Kapisanan ng mga Broadkaster sa Pilipinas.

Movies are also being taken care of by the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board, he said.

The committee also added a provision for the creation of the Provincial Anti-Obscenity Board under the proposed ordinance.

The proposed creation of PA-OB gets the support of Dr. Rene Josef Bullecer, national director of Aids-Free Philippines.

Delighted by the proposal, Bullecer offered his voluntary assistance to Magpale.

“The fight against all forms of indecency in the society is a concern for everybody especially if the church fails to do its part, the government is expected to do its share,” Bullecer said in his letter to Magpale dated November 3, 2001.

Magpale expects that the committee on Monday will recommend for the public hearing of the said proposed ordinance. (Freeman)

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