[Press Release] Black Tuesday: Mourning For Freedom of Expression Both Online and Offline -PIFA

Black Tuesday: Mourning For Freedom of Expression Both Online and Offline

PIFA smallThe Philippine Internet Freedom Alliance (PIFA) continues its protest against the Cybercrime Law as the oral arguments resumed at the Supreme Court today after it has suspended its oral arguments last week.

“We hope that the oral arguments will not be postponed today as it was last week. It seems like a delaying tactic until the temporary restraining order is lifted next week, February 6,” Red Tani, PIFA spokesperson said.

The Supreme Court gave a temporary restraining order on the the Cybercrime Prevention Act after 15 petitioners, including PIFA, questioned the constitutionality of the law. The petitioners have cited the libel clause and the takedown clause as two provisions of the bill which are not constitutional. Women’s groups have also raised their concerns about the cyber sex provision which they say incriminates more than protects women.

“We will remain vigilant until this law is repealed. We are in mourning for the death of our freedom of expression both online and offline,” Tani added.

At the eve of the oral arguments, Carlos Celdran, a known cultural activist, was found guilty of “offending religious feeling” and is faced with two months to a year of imprisonment. The case was filed by Monsignor Nestor Cerbo of the Manila Cathedral after Celdran staged a protest inside the Manila Cathedral on September 30, 2010 after

“Our freedom to express ourselves is a right. People have risen and fought for this right and we saw in the Martial Law years how much people are willing to fight for it,” Ayeen Karunungan, PIFA Spokesperson and leader of the Dakila Artist Collective said.

“Now our fears that our freedom of expression is slowly being killed has come true and the government has proven that they are an instrument to this crime,” Karunungan added.

PIFA is a broad alliance of organizations and individuals who stand together to protect our basic rights to liberty and dignity – including the right to privacy, and freedom of expression, speech, sexuality, and mobility – on the Internet and who opposes RA 10175 which contains provisions that are oppressive, susceptible to abuse, and against the fundamental liberties guaranteed by the Constitution. It is an open alliance and anyone who share the same advocacy may join.

Philippine Internet Freedom Alliance (PIFA)
29 January 2013

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