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Cybercrime law violates

freedom of
Cebu Daily News / 06:24 AM September 21, 2012

Today we remember the 40th year

anniversary of the declaration of Martial
Law by President Ferdinand E. Marcos.

Among the first victims of Martial Law was

the freedom of expression. criminal penalties for libel under the
Revised Penal Code.
Twenty-six years after the end of this
malignant era, we should be celebrating a Punishing online libel a degree higher than
priceless gift of liberty. ordinary libel is grievous aggravation.

However, last Sept. 12, the present Libel has been used as a harassment tool
occupant of Malacaang signed into law by public officials against journalists and
something that brings to life the ghost of citizens who criticize the excesses and
Martial Law the draconian Cybercrime misconduct of those in power.
Prevention Law or Republic Act 10175.
Worse, the new law has a take down
The authors and supporters of this law provision which would give the executive
claim that the law is needed to regulate department through the Department of
how people behave in cyberspace. Justice powers to issue an order to restrict
or block access to computer data
Rapid technology advancement has considered as prima facie evidence in
revolutionized how people share ideas on violation of the laws provisions.
line, especially through social media. The
power of the Internet helped topple The inclusion of libel and the take down
dictators in the Middle East and North Africa provisions of the Cybercrime Prevention
last year. Law strikes at the heart of the
constitutionally protected freedom of
In the Philippines, with Internet penetration expression.
at 30 million or about 30 percent of the
population, on line and social media has This right of a free press prohibits the State
become a potent force. from using its powers to make good threats
of subsequent punishment or censorship of
Including online libel for defamatory published or uttered ideas from any citizen.
utterances and publications sets back the
campaign to strike out the 80-year-old
Article 3, sec. 4 of the 1987 Constitution
clearly states that No law shall be passed
abridging the freedom of speech, of
expression, or of the press, or the right of
the people to assemble and petition the
government for redress of grievances.

On this day of remembrance, the call for

vigilance against enemies of freedom and
democracy gains more relevance.

If some quarters in high government want

to police cyberspace because it views it as
the new wild wild west, then it falls on all
freedom-loving Filipinos, especially
journalists, bloggers, and millions of online
social media users to band together as
cyber cowboys, ready to lasso the wayward