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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Black Tuesday: Mourning the Death of Freedom of Speech, A Protest Against Cyber Martial Law

REPOST from previews article.
Philippine Internet Freedom Alliance (PIFA)
The Philippine Internet Freedom Alliance (PIFA), made up of different organizations, netizens, and blogger, came together Tuesday to uphold freedom of expression and protest the recently signed Cybercrime Prevention Act or, as netizens call it, Cyber Martial Law. The group, carrying plain black placards and taping their mouths with black electrical tapes,
held a silent protest in front of the Supreme Court, in time for the en banc session.
“The Cybercrime Law is undemocratic and has negative implications on the have d right to
free speech and privacy. The Cybercrime Law is testing our country – whether we’re truly a
democracy or just a democracy on paper. It is then fitting the some dubbed it ‘cyber martial
law,’ Red Tani, president of Filipino Freethinkers, an organization part of PIFA said.
“Forty years ago, when Marcos declared martial law, we faced a similar test. I hope it doesn’t
take us as many years – or casualties – to get through this one,” Kenneth Keng, also of FilipinoFreethinkers, added.
To date, five TRO’s have been filed at the Supreme Court. Included are those from Sen. TeofistoGuigona III, UP College of Law professor Atty. JJ Disini, businessman Louis Biraogo, ALAMparty-list, and a group of journalists, bloggers, and lawyers including Alexander Adonis, Ellen Tordesillas, Gisela Cascolan, Harry Roque, Rommel Bagares and Gilbert Andres. PIFA will also be submitting another petition for the TRO of the Law on October 8. Among the points of the petition include: the law as a violation of the right to privacy, as a violation to equal protection, and as a violation to free speech.
“As members of the online community, we are stakeholders in the passage of the law. We
do not want the Data Privacy Act and the Cybercrime Prevention Act to be amended just so
our stakes can be inserted in either. A fresh start is required in order to embrace the online
community,” Ime Morales, founder of the Freelance Writers’ Guild of the Philippine said.
“It is ironic that while we are commemorating the 40th year since the declaration of Martial
Law and crying ‘Never again!, this law, which curtails freedom of speech, has been signed.
Real democracy allows the right to free speech as it is fundamental in people’s participation
in governance. Enacting this law is the death of the right,” said Ayeen Karunungan, council
member of Dakila – Philippine Collective for Modern Heroism, an artist organization also part of PIFA.
An online black-out was also called by the group for people who can’t come to the protest but
who want to support the cause and have the means to do so online.
PIFA is an open alliance for all organizations and individuals against the Cybercrime Prevention Act and is currently composed of the following organizations and individuals: Freelance Writers’ Guild of the Philippine, Filipino Freethinkers, Dakila – Philippine Collective for Modern Heroism, Coalition for Reform, Partido ng Masa, Kabataan Party List, Bukluran Manggagawang Pilipilogger and editor of Blog Watch Noemi Lardizabal-Dado, gender and ICT advocate Nica Dumlao, and bloggers Carlo Ople and James Miraflor. Other organizations and individuals who support the cause may join PIFA.

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