6th petition vs anti-cybercrime law to be filed Monday-A A +A
Sunday, September 30, 2012
OUTRAGE over the controversial Cybercrime Prevention Act continues as a youth party-list group will go to the Supreme Court on Monday to file a petition seeking to declare unconstitutional some provisions on the new that are allegedly violate freedom of expression.
“Our petition will mainly revolve on the issues of the inclusion of online libel, enforcement of the law, and due process. We will show in particular how this new law could potentially abridge the youth’s freedom of expression,” Kabataan party-list counsel Terry Ridon said.
Among the early signatories to the petition for prohibition are Kabataan party-list Representative Raymond Palatino, ACT Teachers party-list Representative Antonio Tinio, University of the Philippines (UP) Student Regent Cleve Arguelles, Philippine Collegian editor-in-chief Katherine Elona, and UP College of Mass Communication Dean Roland Tolentino.
Five petitions were already filed with the Supreme Court to enjoin agencies like the Philippine National Police (PNP), the National Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Justice (DOJ) from enforcing the law, which will take effect on Wednesday.
Just like other groups, Kabataan is opposing Section 19 of Republic Act 10175, which authorizes the DOJ to impose a total access ban on social networking sites in the future.
Section 19 states, “When a computer data is prima facie found to be in violation of the provisions of this Act, the DOJ shall issue an order to restrict or block access to such computer data.”
“If for example, an online article is said to be libelous, DOJ may order the total shutdown of its host domain, effectively censoring not just the article in question, but also other articles in that site – a clear violation of the constitutional right to free speech,” Palatino said.
Global social media and digital analytics company Socialbakers has reported over 29.6 million Facebook users in the Philippines, with the country ranking 8th in the company’s list of top Facebook user statistics in the world.
Meanwhile, social media monitor Semiocast said the Philippines is the 10th country with the most Twitter users at 9.5 million Filipinos.
Those opposed to the law also hit the graver punishment for those who are found guilty of cyber-libel. For traditional print media, the penalty for libel is up to four years and two months while online libel is punishable by 12-year imprisonment period.
Senator Francis Escudero, chairperson of the committee on justice and human rights, earlier promised to file an amendatory bill to make online libel punishable with fines rather than a jail term.
Also on Monday, an “Internet Freedom Bill” will also be filed by Palatino in the House of Representatives, which seeks to repeal contentious provisions in RA 10175 and enumerate the rights of netizens.
In July, the United Nations Human Rights Council unanimously approved a resolution that added Internet access and online freedom of expression to the list of basic human rights. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)