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According to ABS-CBN, the Movie, Television Review and Classification Board announced that it plans to talk to the Department of Justice regarding sites that supposedly publish video of underage women.
First off, it is a bold move in that there should be protection for underage women. And there are laws like the anti-child pornography law. So it isn’t like there is no protection at all or to even suggest that the Philippines isn’t out stumping out this form of evil.
Second, it is one of those ridiculous and dangerous things— even taking into account protecting underage women. We have just gotten out of a really bad situation in Dubai— where the Internet fought to be kept open and free. And the Philippines signed off against U.N. regulation of the Internet.
Near as I can understand it, MTRCB is beyond its Authority. In fact, why skimpy women dance on noon time shows is a matter of much concern, if we are being moralist about it.
What’s dangerous here is government stepping up on censorship on the Internet. It never has ended well. Justifying it on moralist ground is a danger in and on itself. And that’s what they really are after here isn’t it? Justification for RA 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act. The move of the MTRCB wishes to have some justification for law and the takedown clause in the cybercrime law.
The question here shouldn’t be a take down clause. It should be who is deciding what should be taken down and when. It can not be the cops or the prosecutor— in this case– the executive department of the government. It should be the court of law that should decide if someone has stepped out of bounce because that’s the equal protection we all enjoy.
What is to stop someone years down the road for using RA 10175 as justification for doing an Egypt-style crackdown on the Internet? Or a Chinese-style one? One of the biggest flaws of the cybercrime prevention act is that it doesn’t really fight cybercrime. Neither is it cognizant of what cyberwar could be.
@rom disagrees with me. He says, “I don’t think they can think at far ahead. LOL.”
@philippinebeat tweeted, “Here we go again. Afraid of the Internet and netizens?”
@ceso: wrote: “@philippinebeat i think it was just a knee-jerk reaction frm the complaint. good tho that people are thinking about internet freedom”
@gelolopez says, “@philippinebeat There are reasons why they are called MTRCB. Movie and TV.”
“@philippinebeat altho, drive vs. exploitation & trafficking of minors online is being strengthened under #MCPIF,” @ceso added.
@philippinebeat replied: “@ceso Likely. We need orgs that think something through carefully before they act. Clearly this goes beyond MTRCB’s mandate.”
@mobilemaui reminds us of another great idea: “BIR wants to tax online sellers.”
The answer really is the Magna Carta for Philippine Internet Freedom. What this does is fix the flaws of the Cybercrime Prevention Act. It does it better by starting with protecting rights enshrined in the bill of rights. It stands for an open and free Internet by balancing those rights out with the need of government to protect us. It doesn’t think of the Internet as a medium, but a living breathing ecosystem. We are giving the government the right tools, the proper mindset to go after the real bad guys, and at the same time being cognizant that the Internet is an economic driver.
Disclosure: the Author helped draft the Magna Carta for Philippine Internet Freedom.
[Editor’s note: we updated this entry to reflect a few comments]