Press Statement, 2 October 2012 – Twenty-six years since democracy was supposedly restored and media censorship ended, it is alarming to hear that Philippine President Benigno Simeon Aquino signed into law the Republic Act (RA) No. 10175 Cybercrime Prevention Act.
The Philippines Solidarity Network of Aotearoa (PSNA) joins the Filipino people in urging the Philippine Supreme Court to declare the Cybercrime law as unconstitutional.
Instead of signing a law that threatens anew not only the freedom of the press but the freedom of millions of ordinary citizens who utilize the internet, we call on Pres. Aquino to immediately pass the long overdue Freedom of Information Bill.
We hope that when Pres. Aquino comes to New Zealand on the 22nd October, he would have good news that the Cybercrime law has been junked and the Freedom of Information Bill finally passed.
The Freedom of Information Bill must be passed if the Aquino government is serious about taking the righteous path. Allowing citizens to access information about their elected public officials is crucial in ensuring accountability and promoting good governance.
In New Zealand the Official Information Act has been in place for 30 years now.
With the Cybercrime law that includes online libel, we are concerned that the Filipino people’s freedom to express their views and criticize erring public officials is seriously threatened. Journalists, anti-corruption crusaders and ordinary citizens who express strong views against corrupt politicians would be sanctioned for being cyber criminals.
With Aquino’s version of E-Martial Law, those in power may unjustly claim information exchanged in the Internet by to be libelous. Media censorship will be widespread again and ordinary citizens are now more vulnerable of being charged with libel. #
Philippines Solidarity Network of Aotearoa
Box 2450 Christchurch, New Zealand
No TRO on Cyber Crime Law
By Camille Diola and Dennis Carcamo (The Philippine Star) Updated
October 02, 2012 12:35 PM
MANILA, Philippines – The Supreme Court on Tuesday did not issue a temporary restraining order against the newly-passed Cyber Crime Law,
paving the way for its full implementation on Wednesday.
Instead,the SC will decide Tuesday next week whether or not to issue a temporary restraining order (TRO) against the controversial measure.
The petitions against the law were included in the en banc agenda of the SC.
A member of the court, who requested anonymity, said the magistrates of the High Court have yet to thoroughly study all the petitions
opposing the implementation of the measure.
During the en banc session, the SC justices said they will rule on the seven petitions now consolidated against the Cybercrime Act next week,
the source said.
The petitions are all calling for the High Court to declare certain provisions of the measure as unconstitutional.
Eighteen student and media organizations meanwhile lead demonstrations outside Supreme Court building along Padre Faura Street in Manila and dubbed October 2 as “Black Tuesday”.
The groups encouraged Internet users to change their profile photos on their social media accounts into a plain black image in protest against the new law, believed to curb the freedom of expression, signed by President Benigno Aquino III in early September.
Media groups such as the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines, the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility and the Philippine Press Institute will also file a petition of collected electronic signatures against the act on Wednesday before the high court.
Meanwhile, a New Zealand-based rights group has called on the SC to declare the anti-cyber crime law unlawful.
The Philippines Solidarity Network of Aotearoa (PSNA) also expressed alarm over the passage of a bill that would curtail people’s freedom of expression.
“We hope that when President Aquino comes for his State visit to New Zealand on the 22nd October, he would come bearing good news that the cybercrime law has been junked and the Freedom of Information Bill finally passed,” the PSNA said in a statement.
“With the Cybercrime law that includes online libel, we are concerned that the Filipino people’s freedom to express their views and criticize erring public officials is seriously threatened,” the group added.#