THE Cebu Media Legal Aid (Cemla) was registered last Sept. 20, 2011 in the Securities and Exchange Commission as Cebu Media Free Legal Aid Inc. The group subsequently held its first election of officers.
Cemla was first launched in 2006 as a twin project of the Cebu Media Medical Aid Fund or Cemmaf.
1) To serve as legal resource body for the Cebu Citizens-Press Council, offering advice on legal and constitutional issues involving the press, including proposed legislation affecting media practice;
2) To defend press freedom and promote media sense of accountability;
3) To extend, if asked, legal aid to Cebu journalists involved in, or threatened with, litigation;
4) To help brief journalists on how to avoid libel, contempt, and other legal problems, at sessions or programs that CCPC or news organizations may arrange;
5) To set up in Cebu City a database on (a) incidents of suppression of press freedom or threats against it, (b) cases of libel or contempt or other litigation involving Cebu journalists, and (c) other useful information relevant to media and the law;
6) To link or affiliate with other media law associations or organizations, in the country and abroad, whose aim is also to protect journalists, press freedom, and enhance accountability.
Cemla elected its first set of officers last Oct. 25.
Elias L. Espinoza was elected president; Pachico A. Seares, chairman of the board; Frank M. Malilong Jr., vice chairman of the board; Fritz V. Quiñanola, vice president; Ruphil F. Bañoc, secretary; and Rosemarie O. Versoza, treasurer.
Cemla’s trustees are Eddie O. Barrita, Maria Dee Seares-Del Rosario, Celso V. Espinosa, Piedad Y. Gonzalez and Ian Vincent C. Manticajon.