Youth Groups join march against Cybercrime Law with yellow gags, assert freedom of speech.

 The College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP) along with other youth groups and students publications came to a demonstration at the Supreme Court calling for the junking of the Cybercrime Law. 

The recently approved RA 10175 has received massive criticism from writers, bloggers, netizens and many other groups citing that it stifles freedom of speech and allows the government too much power in both surveillance and censorship over the internet.

“One of the worst things about the law is the libel clause, coupled with the lack of due process, it is a clear violation of our civil rights. Anyone is vulnerable to what the government considers libelous and having your website taken down, or worse, arrested for it speaks of Aquino’s commitment to worsen his human rights record” said Pauline Gidget Estella, CEGP-National President.

She added that “taking down the real criminals has been sidelined in favor of targeting government critics and even ordinary citizens speaking out based on the prominent provisions of the law.”

The yellow gags across their mouths represented the efforts of the Aquino government to take the curtailment of human rights and free speech one step further with this e-martial law. Aqunio’s Cybercrime Law only adds to his tally of human rights violations.

Estella noted that “Aquino is the first president to use his power to take the criminalization of free expression online. Many writers and student publications today, due to lack of funds and convenience use the internet to promote their issues and articles. Even they will be subject to what the DOJ and government deems acceptable online literature.”

During the protest, CEGP members and other participants conducted a simultaneous tweet barrage, notifying the online community of their involvement with hash-tags #iamnotacriminal and #junkcybercrimelaw.

“We can all see the dissent online, but it is also important to take our calls offline. Real change happens offline and this is an opportunity to stand against repression in all venues” concluded Estella.