Today this blog is going down in solidarity with my/our Filipino brothers and sisters who today protest the draconian Cybercrime Law (RA 10175).
This bill effectively kills the freedom of speech and expression freely given to the Filipino under the 1987 Philippine Constitution, Section 4:
Section 4. No law shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech, of expression, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances.
The Cybercrime Law can hold anyone for libel under its libel clause provision, and holding anyone who breaks this law to 12 years imprisonment. That is double the punishment under the penal code for “RL” libel. This includes the shares, likes, status updates on Facebook; tweets and retweets on Twitter; blogs and reblogs on Tumblr.
I am standing in solidarity with our friends at the Supreme Court protesting this draconian bill that kills our freedom of speech and expression and attempts to legislate our morality on standards that are regularly broken by those that claim to uphold them. After October 3, 2012, anything we say online can be used to sue us for libel, and this carries a 12 year prison term. Truth is not a defense, so no matter how true it is, you may still be jailed. Our freedom of expression, the first thing we must uphold in a democracy, has effectively been killed by those who are afraid of what this new era brings.
40 years after Martial Law, we are facing the same stifling threat to our democracy, only in the virtual realm who NONE should have control over. The Senator, Vicente Sotto III, inserted this clause because he realized that the internet does not forgive and does not forget such mistakes as plagiarism. They passed this because we dare to speak out online, and because information is now in the hands of the many. Power is no longer concentrated in the hands of the few. This is our chance to show that we will not take such abuse sitting down. Do not let this pass.
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