World will join to protest: GLOBAL BLACK TUESDAY against the Cyber Martial Law Philippines

The world is worry for the E-martial Law in the Philippines that would affect the world wide freedom for speech and expression for all free and democratic countries.

As they prepare to hold a "Black Tuesday" on October 9, 2012 foes of the Anti-Cybercrime Act are getting a boost from an international group, which mounted an online petition against the measure.

The group is the latest in a line of international watchdogs pressuring the Philippine government to either revise or outright repeal the Anti-Cybercrime Act.

New York-based Access said the international community must stand together on Black Tuesday in the face of cybercrime laws enacted around the world.

"With the Supreme Court slated to take up the constitutionality of the law on Tuesday, silent, non-violent protests will be held on Oct. 9 —called Black Tuesday.  With broad and unjust cybercrime laws being enacted around the world, we need to fight them one by one. That's why it's critical that the international community stands together on Black Tuesday," it said.

'Loophole-ridden law'

The group lamented the emerging new reality in the Philippines is that sharing a link, clicking "Like" on Facebook, or retweeting could mean 12 years in jail.

It said the Cybercrime Prevention Act "is so broad and loophole-ridden that a wide range of online activity could be considered libelous."

"Even if you don't write the material, just sharing it with someone online could land you in prison," it said.

Because of the unjust law, it said Filipinos have been protesting in the streets and online to stand up for their rights.

Getting politicians to listen

The group also said that with the 2013 elections just around the corner, many politicians are "downright scared of a national and international backlash."

Such a situation provides the opportunity to convince them to junk this law for good, it said.

"And we know there's nothing like an election to get politicians to listen," it said.

Online petition ongoing

Access said it will deliver the online petition to the Senate before Tuesday's protests.

The Senate resumes session on October 8, Monday.

"If we can get them to repeal the law, it'll send a message to governments everywhere that the world will not stand by while our voices are silenced online," Access said.

Those who sign the petition will send senators the following message:

"The Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 is unjust, overbroad, and poses a serious threat to freedom of expression in the Philippines. We call on you to repeal this law immediately and protect the democratic rights of your citizens."

Meanwhile, artist collective Dakila, a member of the Philippine Internet Freedom Alliance, is working with Access to bring the fight to the international community.

"While we all want to be protected from cybercrimes such as cyberbullying, the Cybercrime Prevention Act does not answer the problems we are facing but merely curtails our freedom of expression and sends a chilling effect on Filipinos. And all of this is happening as we commemorate the 40th year since the declaration of Martial Law in our country," Ayeen Karunungan of Dakila said.

International rights groups speak out

Access is just the latest international watchdog to denounce the Cybercrime Prevention Act.

On September 18, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) issued a statement in which it pointed out that the libel laws underpinning the Act go against United Nations declarations.

"The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) has determined that the criminal sanctions imposed on those accused of libel are incompatible with Article 19, paragraph 3 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)," the statement said.

"EFF is gravely concerned about the implications of the libel provision in the Cybercrime Act and supports local journalists and free expression advocates in opposing it," the statement concluded.

A day later, the Asia-Pacific chapter of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) backed the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) in "expressing serious concern" over the Act.

"The IFJ is greatly concerned that the inclusion of online content in the Act could be used to curtail freedom of expression online, " the IFJ said.

"We are further concerned that the government of the Philippines continues to delay the passing of the (Freedom of Information bill), which clearly stands against their stated commitment to press freedom," the IFJ added, referring to a delayed bill that would have facilitated public access to government documents.

On September 28, the international Human Rights Watch (HRW) called the Act "unconstitutional".

"The cybercrime law needs to be repealed or replaced. It violates Filipinos' rights to free expression and it is wholly incompatible with the Philippine government's obligations under international law," said HRW Asia director Brad Adams.

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