This morning: we survived our individual written 2-3 pages of ruled yellow paper reaction paper requirement on media law. The link (on the clickable title) above points to the 92-page US Supreme Court case we have to react to. Next tasks, next time: more cases and midterm.
The discussion in class touched the case of Kulô exhibit at the CCP and Mideo Cruz’s installation (which I had personally seen before it was shut down, hidden from public’s eyes) since it is also freedom of expression case. The following will be excerpts from my paper and thoughts.
“The most basic principle is this: ‘[A]s a general matter, … government has no power to restrict expression because of its message, its ideas, its subject matter, or its content.’ ” (Edmund G. Brown, Jr., Governor of California, et al., Petitioners v. Entertainment Merchants Association, et al. 08-1448) This specifically is a content-based restriction which will be, of course, the default and effective first line defense of Cruz’s camp. To try to restrict a particular speech or communication, the content of such particular speech (in this case, artworks/installation), we must apply and see the clear and present danger rule: whether “such advocacy is directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action.” If Cruz’s camp sues the people behind the prior restraint, the Catholic Church and other related parties have the burden to and must be of course ready to initially prove such clear and present danger threat/characteristic of the artworks, which is of course, can be a bit of a stretch.
Other connected angles that this case can be taken into are: a) the angle of freedom of belief vs. freedom to act on belief and b) the attack vs. offend viewpoints. These are basically based on Supreme Court decisions on Iglesia ni Kristo v. Court of Appeals, et al. 259 SCRA 529.
A presents the difference between existence of the idea on the realm of thought/mind (which is of course, protected by the freedom of religion or belief) versus the actualization of such beliefs that could affect public welfare, which legalizes interferences of the state on such issues. But then, the clear and present danger rule must also be applied in this situation to justify the imposed prior restraint. B presents freedom from conformity to religious dogma versus freedom from conformity to law because of the religious dogma. A big difference, right? To attack is legal (under free speech protection) but to offend is another issue. But then, the freedom of expression angle mixed with the clear and present danger rule and of course, the level and nature of offense and other methods of balancing acts also apply here. And the defenses go on.