Manila’s Political Cyber Bullies – The Philippines’ new cybercrime law threatens to silence politicians’ critics

The Philippines has enacted a law to stamp out online bullying, which sounds like a good thing. But the supposed victims are top politicians, and they are using draconian penalties and a vaguely worded definition of the crime to silence critics.Last week Philippine Senate majority leader Vicente “Tito” Sotto III admitted that he was behind a last-minute amendment to a cybercrime law that came into effect on Wednesday. Offenders face up to 12 years in prison if they “cause the dishonor, discredit, or contempt of a natural or juridical person” through “malicious imputation” online. see:A Dark Day for the Philippines as Government Passes Cybercrime Act
The government of the Philippines today has passed the troubling Cybercrime Prevention Act. The Act covers a range of offenses, but — as we wrote last month — is particularly problematic because of a libel provision that criminalizes anonymous online criticism.In addition to criminalizing online libel, Section 19 of the Act would also allow the country’s Department of Justice to block access to “computer data” that is in violation of the Act; in other words, a website hosting criminally libelous speech could be shut down without a court order.

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