Aquino: Online libel should stay-A A +A
Friday, October 5, 2012
PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino III supported Friday the need for the inclusion of the highly criticized online libel provision in the newly signed Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012.
In an interview during his visit in San Fernando, Pampanga, President Aquino said those who committed libel must be punished regardless of the kind of media they use.
"I don't agree to scrap online libel (in anti-cybercrime law)," Aquino said.
He noted the Revised Penal Code only imposes punishment on libelous statements on print, radio and television but not on online media.
He also pointed out that the controversial provision underwent thorough study and review starting from the legislative up to the executive department.
"We need to address all these crimes, which were not addressed in our prevailing laws," he said.
The Chief Executive maintained that the government has no intention to curtail freedom of speech but to teach everyone that freedom comes with responsibility.
"The rights are always bounded when it impinges on the rights of others," he said.
Aquino said he signed the law because there is an urgent need to address cybercrimes in the country, particularly identity fraud, computer-related forgery, computer-related fraud, content-related offenses like child pornography, unsolicited commercial and many others.
Aquino, meantime, said that he supports any move to amend the anti-cybercrime law, including the penalty on online libel.
He added that its procedures could also be ironed out so that the state wouldn't be accused of abuses while implementing the new law.
The President also called on the people opposing the implementation of the law to go to Congress and push for amendments, saying he is ready to sign an amended version of the law.
Several groups had questioned the new law, particularly the provision on online libel, which may threaten the public's right to freedom of speech.
Computer hackers showed their outrage by defacing several government websites last week. (Jill Beltran/Sunnex)