Military’s plan to regulate social media tantamount to censorship, rights groups say

“They have repeatedly weaponized social media to proliferate blatant and dangerous fabrications against activists and critics through red-tagging, or when local officials post violent ‘shoot-to-kill’ threats against the public — violent threats hewn directly from the president’s own violent and terroristic threats.”

By ANNE MARXZE D. UMIL
Bulatlat.com

MANILA – Human rights alliance Karapatan said that the military’s proposal to regulate social media is tantamount to Marcosian censorship.

Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief Lt. Gen. Gilbert Gapay said he would propose provisions in the implementing rules and regulations of the Anti Terror Law that will regulate the use of social media.

The National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL) said Gapay’s proposal is against the basic constitutional and international law principles, “let alone common sense.”

NUPL President Edre Olalia said that regulating social media is “an open assault on free expression that is key to democracy, good governance and public participation.”

Olalia laughed at Gapay’s claim that terrorists are using social media for recruitment. “Such fishing expeditions are actually on the lookout for legitimate dissent, criticism and alternative views and opinions that those in power do not like, approve or agree with,” Olalia said.

“In short, it is an iron mask that covers all our senses to suffocation including our basic common sense,” he said.

No moral authority

Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay said that government, the military and police have moral authority to regulate the use of social media under the guise of counterterrorism.

“They have repeatedly weaponized social media to proliferate blatant and dangerous fabrications against activists and critics through red-tagging, or when local officials post violent ‘shoot-to-kill’ threats against the public — violent threats hewn directly from the president’s own violent and terroristic threats,” Palabay said, referring to Quezon City’s head of Task Force Disiplina, Rannie Ludovica’s recent social media post.

Ludovica has given a shoot-to-kill order for violators of quarantine measures in the city.

Palabay added that it is the social media platforms of the AFP and the Philippine National Police which should be regulated for “spreading malicious lies and violent, terroristic threats against the public without letup and with rampant impunity.” ()

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