In Malaysia, a student was arrested for instigating a bombing of the helicopter of the Prime Minister. This might sound like a serious threat by a radical student but it was actually posted on his facebook page maybe with a few likes or a couple of LOLs as comments. However, the Malaysian police immediately arrested him.
The other time, a supposed winner of an American show, America’s Next Top Model, posted her win and she got disqualified in the show and a new winner was chosen. A number of stars from Hollywood have gotten a lot of hate thrown their way for posrting unsavory tweets or twitpics on their accounts. A number of times, we have seen in the Philippines an “abuse” of cyberspace such as the I love you virus, the upload of the sex videos of numerous stars like Katrina Halili and Maricar Reyes (to the detriment of women’s rights and to the enjoyment of the opposite sex), the upload of Mo Twister’s files of Rhian and him. These things caused pain and legal questions which led to actual cases.
Recently, the Senate has passed a bill on cybercrime, I wont really talk about that now in length but rather, I would like to go to specifics. The other time, I talked about a possible cyber crime (cyber bullying). Now, the issue I would like to tackle is to what extent is the free speech in the internet. Now that we are going to criminalize some of the aspects of cyberspace, will our constitutional concepts apply? What about the Revised Penal Code on Libel, Slander?
I believe that in drafting these laws, we should think not as a citizen of the Philippines or even a country of the United Nations but as a Netizen, a citizen of the cyberworld. The less garbage, the less pollution, the better for all the netizens. There should be basic ethics that should be followed even if the whole concept of the internet is fluid, ever-changing, and ever-improving. The internet, which welcomes everything you throw into it, even the kitchen sink, should be treated with respect.
By Trisha Isabelle F. Fernandez Entry #12