Internet/Online Libel, What you Need to Know About It

The Philippines has just made the internet libel constitutional meaning it is now legal and anyone who will commit this offense will be penalized under the cybercrime prevention act no. 10175.

I already wrote an article about the Anti-Cybercrime law and pointed some things about it and it surely has some parts wherein we can benefit on it, but not with the Internet libel part which many believe is not constitutional or should not be included in the law.

But what really is Internet Libel and why do many protest against it? I’m sure most of you don’t really know what this new law wherein just using the internet can put you to jail is all about.

Definition of Internet or Online Libel

Why using facebook, twitter, youtube, email can now put you to jail?

With the new law, anyone who will attack an individual online may it be through facebook posts and comments, blog posts, email, or any other way that is written on the internet will be punishable. And even so the law states that the person who posted the harsh material on the internet will be the only one to be penalized and those who just shared or liked the post will be safe from the consequences, the law is still not that fair enough. I also just saw on TV news a government official who said “Hindi ka naman mapaparusahan kung tama lang at walang masama ang mga ipopost mo” but that doesn’t make any sense! Hello Mr. Offical, mali ba ang magprotesta laban sa mga tiwaling opisyal ng gobyerno? Sana kaya nyong I-identify ang “paninira” sa” katotohanan”, and like what I said on my last article about this law, there are still many cases the government should act on and prioritize first before interfering on our online social life/freedom, bago sana kayo mangialam sa kalayaan ng tao sa facebook o ihayag an aming opinion sa mga bagay-bagay na karapatan naman talaga namin, bigyan nyo muna ng pansin ang pagbibigay ng edukasyon, trabaho, medical attention ang mga mahihirap po! Punish those illicit officials not those who bring out the truth to the people.

Let’s now walk through some of our fellow Filipino netizens’ first impressions and concerns about the law, we can also consider these as the disadvantages of the Internet Libel.
This law obviously trims down our freedom of speech in the internet, we will not be free to express our thoughts and opinions about our government or officials and we all know this clearly oppose the so called “democracy”. The internet libel was also called “internet martial law” and that surely made a lot of sense. Are our laws meant to be broken? You make a law and make another one which will contradict it?


Well that’s what I call the disadvantages, now for the advantages or the benefits internet libel can give us. You might ask then, meron ba talagang advantage and internet libel? Most might only know is that this law will just shut us up in sharing our thoughts about unlawful officials, but certainly there are some points we should consider and do not totally oppose the law.

And to stop you from thinking what I have in mind is, you might already heard about “cyber bullying”. It is when a person is “bullied” online through destructive words, photos or videos posted on social media sites. For this issue also I split it again into two, if you are cyber bullied without factual cause for sure that’s clearly unlawful. But when you are cyber bullied because you stole the money that Juan Dela Cruz earned through his sweat and blood, you truly deserve it.

Who will benefit or who are PRO to this law then?
Anyone who don’t want to be cyber-bullied without realistic reasons
Corrupt officials who don’t want to be criticized and be uncovered

Who are against it

All facebook users, bloggers, journalists who loves speaking out there opinions bring out the truth about corrupt officials and thieves.

Should we stop cyber-bullying? Yet apparently stop speaking out the truth?

This makes this law unfair to death and I don’t think NBI or our government can really impose this kind of law in the internet which even never existed even in other countries, especially those who have a lot higher technologies than the Philippines.

Does our government really have what it takes to implement this kind of law?

This is another question regarding this law, can the “NBI anti-cybercrime division” tell the original author of a post or photo? Here’s an example: Someone on facebook posted a destructive photo of a senator and whether it is edited or real, you can’t tell he is the original uploader or source of that photo, he might have copied it from another person or website, so now he is a re-uploader. A re-uploader is not different from sharer who just shared the photo and as stated on the internet libel law, those who will share or like the post is exempted. Just the same with posts, how does copy paste differ from share? Copy pasting a post does not make you the original creator of that post.

Another thing about seeking for the original creator of a post or photo, I can copy a post, re-post it in my facebook profile and put a “by Anonymous” line on the bottom of the post, that would make me not the creator, and just the same also in a photo I can edit a senator’s face, put it in a pig’s body and add a label “created by anonymous”. The main point here is, the uploader is not necessarily the creator. Re-uploading, copy-pasting, reposting is just the same as sharing.

Nonetheless though of how they will plan to implement this law, I can say the internet libel is still a very uneven and unfair law. But if it will be completely imposed, we will have no choice but to forget about the negative effects and focus on the benefits we can get.

I will just be on the positive side and believe that this law can really stop cyber-bullying but I also hope the government will be fair and very reasonable in implementing such law or penalizing anyone. Also before implementing the law, the government should classify every kind of post, comment, or photo and clarify how it can and cannot be considered as libelous. 

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I'm Alison Alimambo, owner and manager of this blog, an online entrepreneur, blogger, graphic artist, and software developer. Connect with me on Google+ and Facebook. more

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