Sunday, March 3, 2024

Solon files House bill criminalizing cyber-bullying

A lawmaker from the Bicol region has proposed to define and penalize the crime of cyber-bullying to ?encourage people to become responsible netizens and make them accountable for their cyber-actions.?

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Camarines Sur representative Rolando G. Andaya Jr., a former budget secretary, is author of House Bill 5718 entitled “An Act defining and penalizing the crime of cyber-bullying” or the “Anti Cyber-Bullying Act of 2015.”

“Cyber-bullying is one such problem that the advancement in technology and social media has generated. It can potentially affect not only school-aged children, but also any individual who has access to a mobile phone or the Internet,” Andaya said.

Cyber-bullying, he said, shall refer to acts of cruelty committed using the Internet or any form of electronic media or technology that has the effect of stripping one’s dignity or causing reasonable fear or physical or emotional harm such as, but not limited to, the following:

a) Repeatedly sending offensive, rude and insulting message;

b) Distributing derogatory information about the victim;

c) Posting or sending offensive photos of the victim, whether these are digitally altered or not, or were taken with or without consent, with the intention to humiliate and embarrass the victim;

d) Breaking into an email, social networking or any electronic account and using the victim’s virtual identity to send, upload or distribute embarrassing materials to or about others;

e) Sharing the victim’s personal information or any embarrassing information, or tricking the victim into revealing personal or embarrassing information and sharing it to others; and

f) Repeatedly sending messages that include threats of harm or engaging in online activities that cause fear on the victim’s safety.

The bill provides the penalty of P50,000 but not more than P100,000 and imprisonment of not less than six months but not more than six years, or both shall be imposed upon any person found guilty of cyber-bullying.

“The onset of the Internet has shattered world barriers empowering users with immense information and allowed them to be socially connected to virtually anybody around the globe in the comfort of their own homes,” Andaya said.

“Because of the anonymity that the Internet gives, social and moral norms are easily switched off and users are emboldened to just say or post anything online without accountability,” he added.

As a result, Andaya noted, Internet bashing has become a culture among Internet users and even spawned problems that involve hostility and aggression.

The measure provides that the Commission on Information and Communications Technology (CICT), Department of Justice (DOJ), and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) shall jointly formulate the necessary rules and regulations within 90 days from approval of the law for its effective implementation.

HB 5718 has been referred to the Committee on Information Communication Technology chaired by Rep. Joel Roy R. Duavit (1st District, Rizal) for proper consideration and action.


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