LAUREN CHEN WRITES – Gone is the fear of being imprisoned for liking an offensive photo on Facebook.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) is revising the currently suspended 2012 Cybercrime Law and in the process has dropped the provision penalizing online libel. According to Geronimo Sy, head of the DOJ Cybercrime Office, the DOJ never supported the online libel provision. Mark Meruenas of GMA News commented on the situation, stating “Media reports disclosed last year that the libel provision was inserted in the bill that was to become law upon the suggestion of Sen. Tito Sotto, who was then being pilloried on social media for alleged plagiarism.”
The Philippines, nicknamed the “Texting Capital of the World,” celebrates its growing freedom by using the new WeChat social media application, available for free download on smartphones. The app allows Filipinos to share photos and posts easily from their mobile to their social networking sites, now without the fear of being jailed for an insulting retweet. This medium is a way for Filipinos to connect with the world, and the application prides itself on being fast, reliable and private. Although a recent US-based survey revealed that only about one in every five Filipino homes has internet access, Filipinos can access media from their cellphones and stay connected with apps like WeChat.
Things are looking up for the Philippines, and it has high hopes to meet the expectations of being a regional leader in Internet and press freedom.
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