Internet freedom bill pushed vs online libel

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Sunday, February 23, 2014


MANILA -- Senator Defensor-Santiago urged her colleagues to immediately approve her proposed Magna Carta for Philippine Internet Freedom (MCPIF).

Santiago made the appeal following the High Court's decision upholding the controversial online libel provision in the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012.

On Friday, Santiago wrote to Senator Ralph Recto, chairman of Senate committee on science and technology, requesting that the panel conduct an immediate hearing on the MCPIF bill.

"This is to respectfully request for an immediate public hearing by the Committee on Science and Technology on SB No. 53, the Magna Carta for Philippine Internet Freedom, which I filed last 1 July 2013. My bill seeks to repeal the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012, which was recently upheld in part by a Supreme Court ruling announced on 18 February 2014," Santiago said.

"In particular, my bill – in stark contrast to the Supreme Court ruling – in effect characterizes the crime of online libel as unconstitutional, because the provision violates both the 'void for vagueness,' and 'overbreadth' doctrines in constitutional law. Moreover, the Supreme Court ruling appears to go against the global inclination to decriminalize libel," the senator added.

Unlike the Cybercrime Prevention Act, Santiago had earlier said that her proposal upholds the freedom of expression of Filipinos in cyberspace.

While the SC struck down the "takedown clause" in the anti-cybercrime law, Santiago's proposed MCPIF, which sought to replace the law, lacks the said dangerous clause wherein the government may have a website or network blocked or restricted without any warrant.

Recto said the MCPIF, along with other related bills, is scheduled for hearing on March 3, Monday.

Santiago said she is willing to be a co-sponsor of the bill once it is reported out at plenary session for second reading approval. (Sunnex)

Local news

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