Tuesday, 29 January 2013

LATEST: It’s criminally liable to like libelous Facebook post, says gov’t lawyer

MANILA: The government on Tuesday admitted before the Supreme Court that liking, sharing libelous Facebook and twitter posts can make one person criminally liable, prompting a Supreme Court Justice to say that it creates a chilling effect.

“It is not an excuse that thousands of defamatory statements are on the Internet. Then, we have to scrap the law,” Solicitor-General Francis Jardeleza said during Tuesday’s oral argument.

“Defamation is defamation whether we communicate through megaphones, letters, person to person, tweets, Facebook or e-mail,” Jardeleza added.

Associate Justice Roberto Abad said with the criminal liability that the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 creates, “it will make me now reluctant to express my view.”

Abad likened liking and sharing of posts on Facebooks and twitters to showing a friend a libellous material posted on a bulletin board.

Jardeleza said, in that situation, there is no liability because it cannot be considered a republication.

“Unless this law is clarified, it has a chilling effect,” Abad said.

Jardeleza argued that things can go viral.

“What do we do? Until either this court says reputation is not a value anymore, this can be a difficult question,” he told Abad. - Inquirer

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