January 08, 2013
A few days before the oral arguments on the controversial Cybercrime Law begin on January 15, CEGP Baguio-Benguet urges the continuing campaign against the law that can make libel “Instagram an insta-crime” in the Philippines.
The controversial law created a buzz last year when it took effect on October 03 and with its inclusion of online libel among the punishable acts, it threatened to make a crime out of mere sharing or liking or deemed “libelous” statements or images in the internet, particularly in social networking sites. The law was then greeted with an avalanche of protests and legal petitions clamoring for the suspension of the law. As a result of the vigorous protests launched by different organizations from various sectors including CEGP, the Supreme Court, in a unanimous vote, issued a Temporary Restraining Order on the much-opposed law.
The Guild sees this as the triumph of the collective action of the different groups of people who registered their protests on the Cybercrime Law. While the Guild commends this decision and more importantly the people who have not failed to show its oppositional stance regarding the issue, CEGP Baguio-Benguet is prompt in reminding that the people must not be complacent after this initial triumph. The battle against the repression of “online freedom of expression” is only beginning and we call on the everyone to continuously act together towards amending the questionable inclusions in the law, specifically the Libel provision, if not the outright junking of the law. With the TRO expiring in February 06 and the oral arguments beginning on January 15, it is opportune to reorganize and once again register our arguments against the law. Scattered oppositions led by various groups can be harmonized into one in order to achieve a more striking formation that will echo the interest of the people and can bring a stronger message to the Aquino regime and its cohorts who are behind this repressive law. As earlier evinced by the SC issuance of TRO, the collective action of the people truly brings forth positive outcomes. This should be the lesson to be put in mind as we continue the battle for freedom of expression not only in the internet among our other constitutional rights.
Repeal Cybercrime Law!
Fight for Freedom of Expression!
College Editor’s Guild of the Philippines Baguio-Benguet
Ivan Emil Labayne, Chair