Gucci Gang Controversy - Legal and Social Issues

Legal and Social Issues

The blog raised questions about the extent of Philippine and Australian libel laws, with jurisdiction being the key issue. In the Philippines, a person may be accused of libel in any place reached by the publication where the alleged libel appeared. However, such law suffers from loopholes if the publication in question appears wherever Internet access is available. Laws of both countries differ on what statement can be defined as libelous. While Australian libel laws give greater weight to the veracity of the statements, its counterpart in the Philippines defines anything written with "malice afterthought" as libelous. This means that a simple mention of a name in a "malicious" article, no matter how true it is, can be cited for libel in the Philippines. University of the Philippines law professor JJ Disini commented during Media in Focus that the statements posted in the blog are "libelous," explaining that although some of the characters in Gorrell's blog are famous, the libelous statements have nothing to do with what they are famous for. Disini further added that those characters were treated unfairly in the blog, and that they are being used as pawns for Gorrell to get his money back. Law experts in the program were unanimous in their conclusion that Gorrell should go back to the Philippines and file charges against Montano. And in turn, Montano can file libel charges against Gorrell. However, the blogger wrote in his site that he will not return to the Philippines, as he has "no intention of spending the next three years of (his) life battling a liar or thief in your court system in Manila." Other legal options include having Gorrell extradited or file a libel case in Australia, which the program's panelists say as both "tedious" and "expensive."

The blog has also brought out issues of race, gender, and media responsibility particularly on how modern platforms and technological innovations have changed the landscape of journalism. Other vital issues such as freedom of the press and right to privacy were also discussed in the blog's comments section. Meanwhile, Bong Austero of Manila Standard Today stated that the issue has raised the need for "a more realistic appraisal of the authentic social value that these so-called 'socialites' provide", that there is "something not right in a setup where wealth and excessive lifestyles are flaunted and regularly splashed across the pages of newspapers as if they are the most natural things in the world while the majority (of Filipinos) live below the poverty line". Hong Kong-based Filipino socialite and author Kitty Go sided on Gorrell, saying that no one should prevent him from expressing his concerns. She also added that "these ills that Brian (revealed)... has been happening since the Spanish times, and it still happens now."

Some experts on media and journalism, meanwhile, contend that Gorrell's blog was not fit to print in the news pages of newspapers and that it had raised issues in lifestyle journalism in the Philippines. Some media professionals think that the mainstream press, nevertheless, handled the story appropriately.

Randy Dellosa, resident psychologist of the Pinoy Big Brother series, weighed in on the Philippine entertainment industry's fascination with Gorrell's blog. According to Dellosa, the local show biz people are experiencing "scandal fatigue" within their own industry and that they "secretly aspire to become part of high society."

Read more about this topic:  Gucci Gang Controversy

Famous quotes containing the words legal and, legal, social and/or issues:

    The steps toward the emancipation of women are first intellectual, then industrial, lastly legal and political. Great strides in the first two of these stages already have been made of millions of women who do not yet perceive that it is surely carrying them towards the last.
    Ellen Battelle Dietrick, U.S. suffragist. As quoted in History of Woman Suffrage, vol. 4, ch. 13, by Susan B. Anthony and Ida Husted Harper (1902)

    No oppression is so heavy or lasting as that which is inflicted by the perversion and exorbitance of legal authority.
    Joseph Addison (1672–1719)

    Imagination is always the fabric of social life and the dynamic of history. The influence of real needs and compulsions, of real interests and materials, is indirect because the crowd is never conscious of it.
    Simone Weil (1909–1943)

    The current flows fast and furious. It issues in a spate of words from the loudspeakers and the politicians. Every day they tell us that we are a free people fighting to defend freedom. That is the current that has whirled the young airman up into the sky and keeps him circulating there among the clouds. Down here, with a roof to cover us and a gasmask handy, it is our business to puncture gasbags and discover the seeds of truth.
    Virginia Woolf (1882–1941)