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Philippines Cyber Law A Threat To Press Freedom

Media Release: Philippines

September 19, 2012


Philippines Cyber Law A Threat To Press Freedom

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins its affiliate the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) in expressing serious concern that the newly enacted Cybercrime Prevention Act 2012 poses a significant threat to press freedom and limits freedom of expression in the Philippines.

The new laws enacted under the Act which was passed last week, have been criticised by the NUJP and international media groups for the inclusion of libel among the crimes that may be committed online.

The NUJP believe that the Act is a threat not only to the media but to any member of the public with access to the Internet, as it broadens the scope of the libel law to include online expression.

The United Nations Human Rights Council declared the Philippines’ libel law to be excessive and incompatible with international human rights law, in October 2011.

The NUJP said the enactment of the new law “was, to say the least, sneaky and betrays this [the Aquino] administration’s commitment to transparency and freedom of expression” and that it clearly shows the world that the Aquino Government is “no friend of press freedom.”

The government enacted the Cybercrime Prevention Act while ratification of the Freedom of Information Act continues to be delayed more than 20 years after an FOI bill was first filed.

“The IFJ is greatly concerned that the inclusion of online content in the Act could be used to curtail freedom of expression online,” said the IFJ Asia Pacific. “We are further concerned that the government of the Philippines continues to delay the passing of the FOI bill, which clearly stands against their stated commitment to press freedom.”

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 131 countries

Find the IFJ on Twitter: @ifjasiapacific

Find the IFJ on Facebook: www.facebook.com/IFJAsiaPacific

ENDS

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