[Press Release] ICT policy advocacy group joins ‘Black Tuesday’ EDSA Protest -FMA

ICT policy advocacy group joins ‘Black Tuesday’ EDSA Protest

FMA Stop Cyber ML“Policies governing the cyberspace or in general, information and communications technology (ICT) should always be in the framework of rights,” reiterates Foundation for Media Alternatives, an organization active for pushing for the upholding of human rights in different ICT policy spaces.

FMA

FMA joins the Filipino people in EDSA, in expressing its disappointment over the Supreme Court (SC) decision on February 18, 2014 upholding the constitutionality of majority of the provisions on of Republic Act 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012. “While we understand that the SC has (partially) seen the light and declared the unconstitutionality of section 12 or the real-time collection of traffic data, and section 19 or the blocking of access to computer data based only on prima facie evidence, we are still dismayed with SC upholding the constitutionality of  4(c)(1) which is cybersex, 4(c)(4) which is cyberlibel, and section 6 which would increase the penalty to both offenses to one degree higher than that provided for by the Revised Penal Code,” said Nica Dumlao, Internet Rights coordinator of FMA. “These provisions are oppressive, susceptible to abuse, and against the fundamental liberties guaranteed by the constitution.”

Section 4(c)(1), which is the cybersex provision as the law states is “the willful engagement, maintenance, control, or operation, directly or indirectly, of any lascivious exhibition of sexual organs or sexual activity, with the aid of a computer system, for favor or consideration”

Section 4(c)(4), which is cyberlibel is “the unlawful or prohibited acts of libel as defined in Article 355 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, committed through a computer system or any other similar means which may be devised in the future.”

“Because of its overly broad and vague definition on cybersex, the law will just be used to further perpetrate abuse on women and will even criminalize victim-survivors trapped in cyber prostitution dens,” added Lisa Garcia, Take Back the Tech Philippines campaign coordinator. Take Back the Tech is a global campaign to utilize technology to address violence against women (VAW).

FMA added that “they are worried that with the SC upholding the constitutionality of criminal libel online, those who try to advocate for reforms in the government by expressing discontent or by exposing corruption might be harassed and gagged by powerful and guilty politicians.”

“We believe that human rights being enjoyed offline should also be protected online and with the SC not standing by this rights framework is problematic,” Dumlao reiterated. RA 10175 or what we call Cyber Martial Law restrict rather than protect and promote internet freedom. It imposes limits on legitimate online activities and even criminalizes the use of information and communication technologies (ICT) instead of harnessing it.

FMA commits to exhaust all possible avenues to ensure that human rights on the internet will be upheld and not violated by repressive policies such as this law. We will continue to fight for Internet Freedom alongside stakeholders for a truly democratic and developed nation.

For more information, contact Nica Dumlao – ndumlao@fma.ph, +63915 979 28 94

25 February, 2014
For Immediate Release

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