It’s sad and embarrassing that while other countries have reproductive health bills, we’re taking more than a decade to pass one. And while we’re still battling for the RH bill to be passed, a cybercrime prevention act with oppressive and vague cyber-libel provisions is being processed more quickly. And to think that the cyber-libel provisions were stealthily placed in the bill (according to this recommendable article by Raissa Robles, it was still an amendment and was not reflected in any legislative document that was made publicly available) by a man who is criticized for plagiarizing three different speeches given on the Senate floor. And that this cyber martial law bill was signed into law by a man whose parents fought against oppressive dictatorship.
I agree that the use of information on the internet should be regulated, especially when it comes to circumstances like child pornography and computer-related identity theft. I agree that people should be personally accountable for what they post on the internet. But cyber-libel with vague and scary provisions? Aren’t we allowed to have freedom of expression? According to a tweet (God knows how true this is, but I’d like it to be true) Barack Obama knows that nasty things get said about him but says “I accept that people are going to call me awful things every day, and I will always defend their right to do so.”
Just because some people don’t like what’s being said of them on the internet doesn’t mean they should shut the mouths of people from expressing (however reluctant or unreluctantly) themselves. What if the truth about something just isn’t so great? Or could use some improvement? How can anything improve when there is no truth and honestly? And whether or not it’s the truth, aren’t people entitled to express themselves? Everyone will eventually be accountable for (and should be accountable for) what they express, but to regulate it in such a cloudy, vague, and unfair manner is just wrong.
The internet operates in a much different way compared to print and television media. I think its necessary to carefully study the purpose, nature, and functions of the internet before signing on anything like this, especially when it contains such cyber-libel provisions.
This is becoming a ridiculous circus.