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Rappler CEO faces NBI probe on cyber libel complaint

by admin   |   Posted on Monday, January 22nd, 2018


MANILA, Philippines — Rappler CEO, Maria Ressa appeared at the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Cybercrime Division, Monday, on a cyber libel complaint.

Ressa said that while they were given the opportunity to answer the complaint, she still sees another motive for it.

She thinks that the timing is suspicious because the probe was set after the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) revoked their license.

“Obviously, I still see this as a continuing pattern to harass and/or to shut down Rappler. I still see it as part of a concerted effort that will have an impact on press freedom in the country,” said Ressa.

She assured that Rappler is ready to face all complaints and cases which may be filed against them.

“We appeal to government authorities to do the right thing, to follow the rule of law, to give us due process. We have nothing to hide. We’ll completely submit ourselves as I did today,” said the CEO.

The cyber libel complaint was filed by businessman Wilfredo Keng last December over an article Rappler published in May 2012.

Said article was about then Chief Justice Renato Corona using Keng’s SUVs but also contain the businessman’s alleged involvement in human trafficking and drug smuggling.

While the article was written before the enactment of the Anti-Cybercrime Law, it was updated by Rappler in 2014 hence, the complainant argued that it could be qualified as a cyber libel.

But IT expert and Rappler counsel Atty. JJ Disini sees a defect in the complaint.

“The publication precedes or happened even before the law was in existence and therefore it causes into question whether or not it could apply in this case,” said the legal counsel.

He pointed out that it would be a big problem if this is affirmed since it would mean authors and publishers of decade-old articles could still be charged with cyber-libel, as long as these articles are accessible on the internet.

“If that constitutes libel today, then no one is safe. Anyone that has a libelous article that continues to be accessible today may be charged with libel and moving forward it affects everyone, not just media outlets, but also even bloggers, people who published some libel maybe ten years ago if somehow it finds its way online,” said the lawyer.

The NBI Cybercrime Division Chief said that they will study the law’s provision on this very carefully.

Rappler was given 10 days to submit their answer to the complaint.

As soon as they complied with the submission of their affidavit, we will immediately evaluate the case and submit a recommendation,” said Eduarte. — Roderic Mendoza | UNTV News & Rescue

 

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DOJ joins hunt for personalities behind “real narco list” videos

by Maris Federez   |   Posted on Tuesday, April 23rd, 2019

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Justice (DOJ) has joined the hunt for alias Bikoy and the other personalities behind the “Totoong Narco List” [real narco list] videos.

The said videos implicated Presidential son Paolo Duterte, President Rodrigo Duterte’s common-law wife Honeylet Avanceña, and former Special Assistant to the President Bong Go, in illegal drug trade.

DOJ Secretary Menardo Guevarra had also ordered the department’s fact-finding team to conduct an investigation on the identity of the people behind the series of videos and to file possible criminal cases against them.

Guevarra said, “I have given instructions to the DOJ Office of Cybercrime to coordinate with the NBI (National Bureau of Investigation) cybercrime unit and find out the source of these videos.”

The justice secretary further stated that the criminal charges will depend on the acts committed, such as cyber libel or similar offense.

Aside from the DOJ-initiated investigation, the Philippine National Police (PNP) is also conducting a separate probe on the said videos. – Maris Federez

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Online child abuse leading cybercrime in PH

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Tuesday, April 16th, 2019

MANILA, Philippines — The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has noted that online child abuse is the top cybercrime in the Philippines.

According to UNICEF Country Representative Julia Rees, the massive presence of Filipino children online makes them “vulnerable to online sexual abuse and exploitation.”

UNICEF argued that such crimes are made possible with new technologies, such as live streaming which puts more Filipino children at risk.

The National Baseline Survey on Violence Against Children shows cyber violence is affecting one in two Filipino children aged 13 to 17.

“One in three internet users is a child,” Rees said.

“While the government has been trying to respond to the demand, breadth, scope and agility of the technology-not to mention the extreme accessibility of digital platforms – there must be more that we can do together to protect our children,” she added.

To help protect Filipino children from online abuse, the Australian Embassy in Manila pledged to provide P298 million over the next six years to fund the SaferKidsPH program which aims at reducing online sexual exploitation in the country.

Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Steven Robinson said, “Addressing online sexual exploitation and abuse of children is a global concern.”

Through the SaferKidsPH project, the Australian government reinforces its commitment to support the Philippine government in its efforts to address cyber abuse and violence which he considers a “complex form of human trafficking.” – Marje Pelayo

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SC yet to discuss Rappler’s petition to cover Malacanang – CJ Bersamin

by Maris Federez   |   Posted on Saturday, April 13th, 2019

Suprerme Court of the Philippines

The Supreme Court can no longer deliberate on the petition of Rappler reporters for them to be allowed to cover news in Malacañang.

Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin said that the next en banc session of the Supreme Court justices is on May 3 and it is only then that they will be able to discuss on the said petition.

“Iyong pag-akyat namin sa Baguio natapos na namin iyong mga naka-schedule na kaso namin sa en banc but mahirap lamang na ipagpatuloy namin sa Abril ng Holy week at pagbibigyan namin ang mga miyembro ng Supreme Court na magnilay [We have already finished the cases scheduled in the en banc session in Baguio (City), we just cannot continue as next week is Holy Week. We have to give the members of the Supreme Court to reflect],” the Chief Justice said.

On Thursday, April 11, several Rappler reporters appealed before the Supreme Court to step in and stop Malacanang from barring them from covering the President and his activities.

Rappler said such prohibition is a violation of their press freedom. – Maris Federez

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