I hear the cry of my fellow bloggers about the Cybecrime law.
It’s implication is a matter of grave concern, and it affects not just bloggers and journalists, but anyone who is connected to the Internet.
I hope, and I pray that the lawmakers will amend it for the benefit of the online community here in the Philippines.
Here are some excerpts of what you need to know about the Cybercrime law.
Teofisto Guingona, Senator of the Philippines recently shared his thoughts on Rappler.
Republic Act 10175 is oppressive and dangerous. It demonizes the computer user and extends its tentacles to a computer user’s freedom of expression and speech. In an age when decriminalization of libel is the trend, this law makes a fatal step back, toward the vault of archaic policies that cannot be made to apply to the modern man operating in a modern world.
He also cited three reasons why he is against the libel provision of the law.
Vague: No limitations against liability
First, without a clear definition of the crime of libel and the persons liable, virtually any person can now be charged with a crime. Included in the potential list of accused are:
- Persons, adult or child, who tweet criticisms against politicians, actors and actresses, and other persons.
- Persons who post Facebook status updates and those who comment on these posts.
- Persons who share Facebook posts and those who re-tweet messages on Twitter.
- Bloggers, Facebook accounts owners, and other online account owners who open their sites for comments from other people.
Unfair: Cyber-libel gets graver punishment than libel in traditional media
The provision on cyberlibel demonizes technology and sends the message that the computer user is more evil than those who write on traditional media.
While libel committed through traditional print media is punishable by up to 4 years and two months of imprisonment, online libel is punishable by a shocking 12-year imprisonment period.
Oppressive: You can now be charged with two counts of libel—double jeopardy
The law is a loud warning against those who wish to exercise their constitutional freedom of speech and expression–because now, you can be prosecuted for both libel under the Revised Penal Code, and libel under the Cybercrime Prevention Act.
From an international correspondent, Paul Tassi of Forbes said,
Again, much like SOPA, these are lawmakers who don’t understand the true implications of the law on the technology they’re attempting to regulate. Or maybe they do, in this case. Sotto recently came under fire online for plagiarizing speeches from an American blogger and Robert F. Kennedy which he used to rail against a controversial reproductive health bill.
Mark D. Meruenas of GMA News said,
The oldest voluntary lawyers group in the country on Friday filed with the Supreme Court the 11th petition questioning the legality of Republic Act 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012.
The Philippine Bar Association (PBA), in its 61-page petition for prohibition, asked the court to subject the cybercrime law, which took effect last Wednesday, “under strict scrutiny.”
The group described the controversial law as a “class legislation that discriminates against netizens and online journalists.” It said the law’s “void and vague” provisions give law enforcers “unbridled discretion” in interpreting and implementing the law.
Join me and sign an online petition to junk the Cybercrime Prevention Law.