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Rep. Antonio Tinio on the SC ruling declaring online libel as constitutional

18 February 2014 No Comment

PRESS STATEMENT

 

February 18, 2014

 

Reference: ACT Teachers Rep. Antonio Tinio (0920-9220817)

 

ACT Teachers Rep. Antonio Tinio on the Supreme Court ruling declaring the crime of online libel as constitutional

 

We deplore the ruling of the Supreme Court that has upheld as constitutional the provision on online libel as a distinct crime with a heavier penalty than libel as defined in the Revised Penal Code.

Since the Internet is a new kind of medium that allows individuals to reach a mass audience directly, the new crime of online libel constitutes a direct threat to free speech and individual expression. At the very least, it will have a chilling effect on online discussions of vital public issues.

In addition, this is a step backward from the enlightened trend of decriminalizing libel while retaining civil liability in order to ensure accountability in the exercise of free speech.

Given the ruling, the way forward now is to amend the cybercrime law by repealing the provision on online libel. For that purpose, I have already filed House Bill 446. ###

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