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Journalists appeal SC to stop Anti-Cybercrime Law

September 25, 2012 3:47pm
Several journalist organizations have asked the Supreme Court to stop the government from implementing the Cybercrime Law, enacted last September 12 by Malacañang.
 
The petition is led by the Alab ng Mamahayag (ALAM), which claims to represent sectors that believe in a "genuine free press." ALAM is joined by the Hukuman ng Mamamayan Movement Inc. (HMMI); journalists Travy Cabrera and Percy Lapid of the Police Files Tonight; columnist Hernani Cuare; and lawyers Ronaldo Renta, Cirilo Sabarre, and Dervin Castro. 
 
Named respondents were the Office of the President, the Senate, and the House of Representatives.

'Chilling effect on bloggers, users'

"Considering the extent of the chilling effect being caused by the same law upon the minds of online bloggers and other users, minding the thought of a higher degree of punishment than ordinary libel, there is an urgent need to suspend first the efficacy of the same provisions of RA 10175 [or the Cybercrime Law]," said the petitioners, who are also asking the high court to issue a temporary restraining order against the law.
 
The petitioners said that, before the law is implemented, the government should first prove that the Cybercrime Law would not violate peoples' "most fundamental right" under Section 1, Article III of the 1987 Philippine Constitution, by passing the "substantive due process test" and the "equal protection challenge."

Proof needed
 
Section 1, Article III of the Constitution states that "No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law, nor shall any person be denied the equal protection of the laws."
 
The petitioners also said that the government must be able to prove there is a "clear and present danger"  that would warrant "a regulation in liberty and other fundamental rights of the people."
 
The petitioners said Republic Act 10175 or the Cybercrime Law should first be able to pass the "substantive due process test" and the "equal protection challenge."

Not compelling
 
They said the objectives of the Cybercrime Law were not compelling enough to set aside several fundamental rights as provided for in the 1987 Philippine Constitution.
 
"By shallow analysis and comparison, it is very clear to see that these are not compelling to sacrifice the people's entitlements to freedom of expression, of speech, and of the press and the right to liberty," the petitioners said. — TJD, GMA News
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