NZ group joins call for SC to declare Cybercrime law ‘unconstitutional’

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, Murray Horton, Secretary, Philippines Solidarity Network of Aotearoa (PSNA).

“We hope that when Pres. 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,” Horton said in a statement.

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, he said.

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,” Horton said.
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, he said.

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