This particular topic has become subject of contentious debate and this must depend on which country or form of government we are in. If you live in Australia or in the Philippines or another country, this freedom is not at all scribed or guaranteed in the constitution; if it is, whether they are worded or meant the same way it is in Australia or in the Philippines.

In Australia, we do not have explicit freedom of speech which we can draw from the Constitution or specific legislation with the exception of political speech which is protected from criminal prosecution at common law (Capital Television Pty Ltd. V Commonwealth (1992) 177 CLR 106).

There is, however, an implied freedom of speech that is recognised following the decision in Lange v ABC Corporation S109/1996 (1997) HCA Trans 91 (6 March 1997).

In the Philippines Article 111, section 14 of the 1987 Philippine Constitution prohibits passing of a law that will abridge the freedom of speech or expression. This, however, is not an absolute right as this will prohibit or provide an exception when the content of the speech or article is attended with libel or slander by act or deed defined under the Revised Penal Code.

I find it necessary to point out that whilst we have such freedom in the Philippines, it is not completely absolute that you can insult or slander someone else without justification. This means that anyone can fabricate charge or charges as he or she wants to, but it needs to be true to justify the defence. The social media we see in America cannot be measured or compared with the same entitlement or rights compared to Philippines or Australia because the laws in the US or Australia or in the Philippines are essentially different from each other.

If a person is prosecuted in the Philippines because the rights to speech or expression were abused by making a false claim then that has to be prosecuted accordingly under the Revised Penal Code. As we wade through the Internet or social media, I see a lot of articles or messages full of libelous or slanderous content and I am sure that the authority will get on it at some time.

I can see from bloggers or writers in social media that they sometimes go over the top. This is dangerous as the laws in America are different from the Philippines or Australia.
The risks may involve breaking the laws of one or two countries depending on the person/s offended consequently such person/s may be liable for prosecution.

Assuming that President Rodrigo Duterte prosecutes Mr. Juan De la Cruz for libelous remarks and it goes beyond Philippine territory. The person charged can be liable within its territory. But the government has a proper protocol to make you answerable or bring you where you committed the offence if you happened to be elsewhere. So, be careful with your message.

(For comments or feedback, email

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