“If journalists are duty-bound to heed libel law, why not others who also exercise freedom of expression?”
Netizens from all over the Philippine cyber world have been shaken by devastating news about Republic Act (RA) 10175 or The Cybercrime Prevention Act, recently signed by President Aquino, without the general public being informed about its mere existence. We’ve seen the news, we’ve read the outraged tweets and facebook posts, and we’ve heard the uproar of various blogger and media groups as they file for a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) on the implementation. But just how would even an innocent internet user could end up suffering from 12 years jail time by simply posting a social rant?
Okay, so this RA aims to eradicate specifically pornography, website hacking, spamming, to even stealing somebody’s identity which have all been rampant on the internet probably dating back to the 90’s. Ideally, it presents a safer and more blissful browsing experience for Filipinos, but we all know the drill, our social lives are not becoming a fairy tale with a happy ever after ending, not even close to it. The Philippine Police and National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) have both admitted their incapacity to control such crimes from occurring, and this particular bill gives them the go to gather up data from user accounts in Facebook, Twitter, Tumbler, up to the point of eavesdropping on your Skype for them to collect video and voice calls without the compelling need of a warrant. A clear VIOLATION of PRIVACY. On the Official Gazette, I was alarmed on the gravity of punishment that this law intends to impose on all violators, and topping my list of disappointments is the vagueness of online-libel and it's unremarkable definition. Where have all the due processes, the rights to expression and equal opportunities to private communication gone? I am giving my tacit approval to the Filipino blogging community on its battle to cease this newly signed prevaricating act.
Never have I been a victim of cyber bullying nor any crime associated with the abuse of internet so it wouldn't be fair enough to purposely start a personal rage against the government just because majority of the Filipinos do and obviously because I’m a blogger. I just refuse to be shackled by a law that prevents me from writing what I think and what I believe is RIGHT. Freedom has been a historical issue for this nation, from the ruthless hands of invaders during the world war up until the downfall of a dictatorial leader in the 80’s. Our forefathers have sacrificed an entire lifetime for us to walk the earth with a sense of liberty and independence. Never have we foreseen that as the world evolves to be technically advanced, our country will be left behind because of our lawmakers who fear of being crucified publicly once they commit something against people’s approval.
For the lawmakers to nibble on:
Perhaps I could be prosecuted after posting this blog, and I could definitely be imprisoned for sharing my point of view and vehement stand against this law. But never again call it FREEDOM of EXPRESSION if the government will continue to display it’s blindness on what this unconstitutional bill represents. If the President and other respectable politicians we have elected and entrusted our nation’s fate with truly recognize the vitality of communication sector, then they should abolish this ambiguous product of their undertaking that will produce a passive population.
Channel News Asia, GMA News Online, Official Gazette