Skip to main content

Philippines top court restrains cyberlaw

By Anjani Trivedi, for CNN
updated 9:14 AM EDT, Wed October 10, 2012
Customers at an Internet cafe look at Facebook profiles that have turned black as part of a protest against new cyberlaws.
Customers at an Internet cafe look at Facebook profiles that have turned black as part of a protest against new cyberlaws.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • A controversial new cyberlaw has been suspended in the Philippines by the country's top court
  • The Cybercrime Prevention Act went into effect on October 3 amidst widespread protests
  • Law seeks to address child pornography, identity theft and other computer-related offenses
  • Critics of the law are against various provisions of the law, mainly one that criminalizes libel

(CNN) -- A controversial new cyberlaw has been temporarily suspended in the Philippines by the country's top court Tuesday, a move seen as a victory of netizens who objected to the criminalization of libel, which could result in social media users being thrown in jail for posts.

The Supreme Court suspended the new law for 120 days effective immediately, giving the government time to amend the law.

Fifteen petitions -- signed by hundreds of individuals and several organizations -- were filed opposing the law. Petitioners said the law has a "repressive perspective on personal freedoms and regressive view of technology."

The top court's order has given respondents 10 days to comment on the petitions filed and has set January 15 to hear oral arguments in the case.

The Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 went into effect on October 3 amidst widespread protests by the Filipino online community, journalists and free speech activists. Critics of the law are against various provisions of the law, mainly one that criminalizes libel. The Internet community was up in arms over implications the law may have on social media communication.

The law seeks to address cybersex, child pornography, identity theft and other computer-related offenses.

"We commend the Supreme Court for deciding unanimously on this one. Although there will be deliberations, the next step would be to strike down this law altogether," said Carlos Conde of Human Rights Watch. "For the online community, this is a defining moment, to realize the power they have in their hands for political and civil actions."

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 10:26 AM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
Advocates say the exam includes unnecessarily invasive and irrelevant procedures -- like a so-called "two finger" test.
updated 7:09 PM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Supplies of food, clothing and fuel are running short in Damascus and people are going hungry as the civil war drags on.
updated 1:01 PM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
Supporters of Richard III want a reconstruction of his head to bring a human aspect to a leader portrayed as a murderous villain.
updated 10:48 AM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Robert Fowler spent 130 days held hostage by the same al Qaeda group that was behind the Algeria massacre. He shares his experience.
updated 12:07 AM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
As "We are the World" plays, a video shows what looks like a nuclear attack on the U.S. Jim Clancy reports on a bizarre video from North Korea.
The relationship is, once again, cold enough to make Obama's much-trumpeted "reset" in Russian-U.S. relations seem thoroughly off the rails.
Ten years on, what do you think the Iraq war has changed in you, and in your country? Send us your thoughts and experiences.
updated 7:15 AM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Musician Daniela Mercury has sold more than 12 million albums worldwide over a career span of nearly 30 years.
Photojournalist Alison Wright travelled the world to capture its many faces in her latest book, "Face to Face: Portraits of the Human Spirit."
updated 7:06 PM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Europol claims 380 soccer matches, including top level ones, were fixed - as the scandal widens, CNN's Dan Rivers looks at how it's done.
updated 7:37 AM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
That galaxy far, far away is apparently bigger than first thought. The "Star Wars" franchise will get two spinoff movies, Disney announced.
updated 2:18 AM EST, Fri February 8, 2013
It's an essential part of any trip, an activity we all take part in. Yet almost none of us are any good at it. Souvenir buying is too often an obligatory slog.
ADVERTISEMENT