Netizens of Medical Schools Oppose the Libel Clause of Cybercrime Law
Says it’s a “face lift” of public speech infringement
AMSA Philippines welcomes the newly approved Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 (RA 10175) as it will battle cybersex, child pornography and identity theft among others.
However, we strongly decry the inclusion of the libel clause stated in the new law thereby widening the coverage of libel as a crime to include those "committed through a computer system or any other similar means which may be devised in the future”. In short, libel can already be imposed on the internet, including social media like Twitter and Facebook.
AMSA Philippines is threatened by the implication of the clause. This means that libel can already be imposed on ordinary conversations, exchanges of comments or “chats” and simple discourses via the internet.
The new law is a blatant threat against our inherent freedom of expression and information even in the technological age. We are reminded once again of the dark era of the Marcos regime where freedom of expression was curtailed. The clause is like cosmetic surgery, in that it just gives a new “face” to the old look of infringement of public speech.
Thus, we urge the government to scrutinize the new act and delay its implementation. We call on the general public, our colleagues, and all netizens to remain vigilant and guard our constitutional right to freedom of public expression.
All for human rights!
Ethel Joy E. Agaid
National Officer of Human Rights and Peace (NORP)
Standing Committee on Human Rights and Peace (SCORP)