The draft before the parliament at the end of the year did not eliminate jail sentences for journalists in connection with their work, and allowed for the enforcement of laws like Article 150 of the Penal Code, which bans all writing and speech that is "intended to, or results in, stirring up sectarian or racial tension or strife among different elements of the nation." While the Jordanian constitution guarantees citizens the right to freedom of expression and of the press, articles of the penal and press codes restrict criticism of the royal family, the National Assembly, public officials, and the armed forces, as well as speech that might harm Jordan's foreign relations.
In response to the extreme Tulfo verdict and the subsequent revelation that Jose Miguel Arroyo, the president's husband, had filed libel charges against at least 43 reporters, columnists, editors, and publishers since 2003, the National Union of Journalists in the Philippines (NUJP) led more than 600 Filipino journalists and several international press freedom watchdog groups to sign a petition calling for the decriminalization of defamation, officially submitted to the Senate in late November.
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There is freedom of information legislation in place, but the government has been criticized for gradually narrowing the categories of information accessible by the public under the law.
A major issue of contention in 2005 was the release of a draft national broadcasting code designed to deter talk radio stations from aggravating simmering ethnic tensions, but there was such opposition to it from media houses that the code was withdrawn for possible redrafting.
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Boris Stomakhin of the monthly Radikalnaya Politika, who has written various critical articles on Russia's actions in Chechnya, was sentenced in November to five years in prison.
The international media community expressed its shock at the October murder of Novaya Gazeta journalist Anna Politkovskaya, who was renowned for her independent reporting about abuses committed in the war in Chechnya.
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The Melo Commission to Investigate Media and Activist Killings, established by the president in response to international pressure in August, marked a second, if largely cosmetic, government effort to investigate journalist-targeted violence as part of the spate of assassinations of leftwing activists that plagued the country over the year.
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Both the private press (most print and electronic media) and the country's many state-owned television and radio stations cover controversial topics-including, in 2006, developments in the constitutional reform debate, and the second unsuccessful impeachment bid against President Macapagal-Arroyo in June.
The February 2006 state of emergency brought a significant blow to critical voices, however, when Philippine National Police officers raided the offices of the leading pro-opposition newspaper, The Daily Tribune, and a number of other critical newspapers were placed under surveillance.
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Government plans to establish a new body called the Press and Publication Regulatory Authority (PAPRA), which would supersede existing self-regulatory mechanisms, were criticized by local and international watchdog groups.
Over the past several years, military authorities have used increasingly aggressive tactics to silence critical or investigative voices in the media.