Cybercrime Law and The Freedom of Speech

2 Oct

In less than an hour, the newest and the controversial law in the Philippines will take effect – the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012. The new law, obviously aims to reprimand the “misuse” of the internet by the people in the country. So far I haven’t read every details about this new law yet. Although, it was published in a government website, I haven’t read every chapters and sections of it. Most of what I’ve read were only articles posted by journalists, fellow bloggers and some politicians who are apparently opposed to the new bill.

From what I’ve gathered so far, libel has been inserted in the bill, which was the very reason many people are not approved of it. With the insertion of libel, apparently, anyone who will post, tweet, comment something that criticizes someone, say a politician, can be charged. Maybe even “liking” a comment or reposting or retweeting them can get your ass in jail.

The law is also too vague on who is liable and what is libelous. A website or blog can be taken down if one finds it offensive and charge you under the newly-enacted law. Like one Senator said, maybe even Mark Zuckerberg can be found liable for being the owner of Facebook. (Click here). One article even cited that old blogs, social media posts, or articles can be also used to charged you with cyber libel even before the law is implemented. (Click here).

For me, while it is good that we finally have a law that can make the “abusive” internet users accountable (i.e. those who engage stealing identity, uploading explicit content, online fraud, etc.), silencing the citizens when they inserted “libel” is oppressive and against the freedom of speech.

Heck, what happened to our democracy now?

Haven’t we learned from Martial Law?

As a journalism graduate and an advocate of freedom of expression, I am making my stand against this new law particularly the incorporation of libel, that is not only is oppressive and dangerous, but also makes what our national heroes did for the freedom of this country, useless!

Posting this actually on the eve of enactment of the law is dangerous as it can be used against me, but I will make my stand.

No to Republic Act No. 10175.

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