Davao-based media outlets backed moves to postpone the implementation of the Cybercrime Prevention Law which took effect on Wednesday, October 3, 2012.
The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP), Philippine Press Institute (PPI) and Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR) filed a petition before the Supreme Court on the same day against Republic Act No. 10175 which “threatens the fundamental rights and freedoms with its repressive perspective and regressive view of technology.”
They were joined by other individual and organization petitioners collectively called as e-petitioners that signed up via http:/www.nujp.org/no-to-ra10175 which according to NUJP reached more than 240.
The petition was supported by reporters, photojournalists and editors through the symbolic signing of the poster against the special law during a forum led by PPI members in Davao City. The poster was signed by the editors, photographers and reporters of the different dailies such as Mindanao Times, Sunstar Davao, Mindanao Daily Mirror, Edge Davao, Philippine Daily Inquirer-Mindanao, and ABS-CBN Radyo Patrol.
“This is a petition for certiorari, prohibition and injunction with an application for urgent relief by way of an immediate restraining order filed with this court to annul and/or restrain the implementation of specific portions of Republic Act No. 10175 for being unconstitutional,” the petition said.
The petition specifically cited a provision of the law regarding libel.
Sec. 4 c (4) of Cybercrime Prevention Act stated that it is punishable to commit libel, as defined in Article 355 of the Revised Penal Code, through a computer system or any other similar means that could be used in the future.
Art. 355 of the Revised Penal Code cited that libel is committed “by means of writing, printing, lithography, engraving, radio, phonograph, painting, theatrical exhibition, cinematographic exhibition, or any similar means.”
The petitioners also want to restrain the implementation on the law’s sections on aiding or abetting in the commission of cybercrime, inclusion of all felonies and crimes within coverage of the law, liability under other laws, real-time collection of traffic data and disclosure of data.
The petition further includes the sections on search, seizure and examination of computer data; restricting or blocking access to computer data; non-compliance; cybercrime investigation and coordinating center and powers and functions.
“Apart from the specific grounds for unconstitutionality of these sections, sec. 28 of R.A. 10175 is also sought to be restrained as it delegates to respondents Justice Secretary and Interior and Local Government Secretary the authority to promulgate implementing rules and regulations within 90 days from approval of the law without clear and definite standards to guide the respondents,” it added. (Kristianne M. Fusilero)