February 05, 2013
On the last day before the end of the Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) imposed by the Supreme Court on the immensely questioned Cybercrime Law, the College Editors’ Guild of the Philippines Baguio-Benguet continues its ardent call to oppose the law that could largely limit the flow of discourses and the exchange of information in the internet.
We continue to call attention to the libel provision which increases the penalty of the already controversial criminal libel stipulated in the Revised Penal Code. Mere liking or sharing a “libelous” post can now be deemed as a crime under the Cybercrime Law. We see this as posing a significant impediment in the impressive tapping of the internet as a medium for social involvement and dissent.
The consistent increase in internet usage all over the world has been more often touted as the increasing popularity of a supposed democratization of disseminating information and shaping public opinion. While there are legitimate contestations regarding this view, such as the varying extent by which the reactionary businessmen and the oppositional groups appropriate user-generation of content in the internet to advance their respective agenda, it cannot be doubted that the internet has been an effective tool in countering the status quo. This has been manifested in some European countries in the past decade and in there is no considerable lag in the Philippines. We have seen in the recent years how the internet, particularly the social networking sites have once been flooded by oppositional, if not subversive content, relating to current issues and the general condition of the society.
We see the Cybercrime Law mainly as a way to curb these potentials of the internet to be used against the existing order. In a move hauntingly reminiscent of a remodeled Foucauldian surveillance, the Cybercrime Law is threatening to always keep us on guard in our internet use.
We therefore need to recognize that we are being watched. And so before they can even begin to label us and our actions with names that demonize our intentions (libelous, terrorist, subversive), we must oppose this repressive law disguising, as most laws do, to protect the rights of the people
Ivan Emil Labayne, 09268105915