(The following are notes of students. They are not the legal opinion of the blog administrator.)
Posted by Student 15. unedited by blog administrator
July 22, 2007, 7:55 pm
quote “Commentary on the Human Security Act
quote “The Human Security Act of 2007 creates a venue for trammeling upon the freedom of the press and the freedom of expression. As a constitutionally protected right, freedom of expression can be overridden by the “chilling effect” that, by causing any form of agitation to the reading and viewing public by presupposed objective accounts of events in government, a journalist can be accused of creating “extraordinary fear of panic among the populace”, or conspiracy against said government. The public is forced into depoliticization, and will separate itself from vital issues of a possibly corruption-ridden state in order to survive. The law therefore creates a license for apathy, for then the public will fear to comment or complain—a fear rooted upon the possibility of being accused of terrorism, incarceration for the crime of “terrorism” and all that it implies. The mere reportage of events will no longer serve as a constitutionally protected right, but will serve as the noose that hangs over every journalist’s head. It is, in a sense, a protracted form of censorship.
quote “The credibility of the industry is also placed at stake by the provisions that are given by the HSA. Allowing agents of the government to employ surveillance and other forms of espionage on people under mere suspicion of terrorism paves the way for accessing information, no matter how privileged, may be stolen, coerced out of a journalist, a source, by any means possible, under the guise of legal action. This compromises the watchdog function of the press—any reporter could be coerced or intimidated, under the cloak of legality, to reveal sources, give out information, and report less than what is true. Even the safeguards supposedly placed by the authors of this law cannot assure the safety of the lives and limbs of reporters and journalists. The removal of protection of sources—directly or indirectly, as agents of the government may call a journalist a conspirator of some sort of terrorist activity—returns to the chilling effect. The industry then loses its vital position in society through the loss of confidence of sources and the public, as well as the death of an information and politicized public.” closed-quote.
“Human Security Act of 2007″
2nd Blog Entry
By: Sheena Serrano student # 18 – Comm 192/MWX
(Unedited by Blog Administrator)
quote “Republic Act No. 9372, also known as the “Human Security Act of 2007” will hamper journalists from gathering information that could be used to build or back the articles that they have in mind. Journalists could be accused of being an accessory in conspiring to acts of terrorism especially if the source is someone who is openly critical to the government. Sources on the other hand would be afraid to speak and tell what they know regarding any anomalies that they found out for fear that they would be put under surveillance and lose their privacy or worse detained for a number of days. This makes it harder for Journalists to get a story going because they would have to find some other means to get information.
quote “Also, if the source is a fugitive, the writer might be subjected to inform the police or other enforcing body of the government the whereabouts of that person or else be detained without warrant of arrest for conspiring with a terrorist. Journalists could also be asked to name their source even though it is confidential if the police conclude that the source is a terrorist.
quote “These are just a few consequences that this law entails. What it aims is to impair our right to expression as well as our right to be critical to the government.” closed-quote.
Posted by Student #7 unedited by blog administrator
July 21, 2007, 7:55 pm
quote “Despite the opposition, Republic Act No. 9372, also known as the Human Security Act of 2007, was signed into law and took effect a few days ago. Sec.2 of the HSA read “It is to be understood, however, that the exercise of the constitutionally recognized powers of the executive department of the government shall not prejudice respect for human rights which shall be absolute and protected at all times.” However, Sec. 18 proved to be the opposite of this claim. A person, who is only suspected of engaging into a terrorism act, can be put in detention for three days without judicial warrant of arrest. This is clearly a violation of human rights. It is only logical to think that a lot can happen in three days even if it is written that the one in detention is entitled to the payment of damages once acquitted as mentioned in Sec. 50. Not that I lost my trust in the justice system but I could not imagine that someone acquitted will be paid the amount P500,000 for each day he/she is deprived of liberty. Wouldn’t it be more convenient to make someone admit of wrongdoings than pay him/her that lump sum? To put it more clearly, would the authorities let someone go out of jail and pay him/her knowing that they may be subjected to criticisms or worse, human rights violation cases because of the mistake they made?
quote “Sec. 7 allowed the surveillance of suspects. It, nonetheless, emphasized that “…surveillance, interception and recording of communications between lawyers and clients, doctors and patients, journalists and their sources and confidential business correspondence shall not be authorized.” But how sure are we that this provision will not be abused? Who will know that they, the authorities, wire-tapped a particular conversation? Come to think of it, who can really stop someone from wiretapping? Remember that the president herself was a victim of this act even if there is Anti-wire Tapping Law. But legalizing it would be even worse. It may be an open door for blackmails and other sorts of abuses.” closed-quote.
Posted by Student #6
(unedited by blog administrator)
Photo right-clicked from philippinecollegian.net
quote “Even campus papers have to practice good journalism. But not for the first time, the Philippine Collegian did a rather poor job when they reported on the Human Security Act in their July 13 issue. The story headlined “Anti-terror law, ipatutupad na sa Hulyo 15” contained all but the side of the HSA’s proponents, or at least those who see some good in the said law. Throughout the article, four sources were quoted extensively, all of them ranting against the statute.
quote “I, too, am against the HSA, but justice is also due, not only to the pro-HSA, but to the Collegian staff. I believe fairer reportage on controversial issues (i.e. getting the other side’s say, etc.) would elevate our Collegian to something more than just a mouthpiece of the predominantly Left UP community to a publication that is fair, credible, and responsible.” closed-quote
Posted by Student 6 unedited by blog administratos
quote “The Human Security Act will hamper the people’s freedom of expression. The journalists, reporters and other media practitioners are really affected by this Act. This could affect the news that the media would be feeding us in the future. The Act brings fear to them because there’s a provision in it that states that surveillance will be conducted to anyone that the police and other law enforcement personnel suspects to be committing a crime. So this means that sheer suspicion has been considered an enough basis for these people to go snooping on other people’s lives (wiretapped calls, get personal messages, follow people around, etc) and worse, arrest and detain them without certain warrant. This Act could be abused by unrighteous authorities just like most of the laws implemented in this country. There’s a high possibility that many of the unsuspecting people to be under surveillance in the future would be journalists, reporters and other media practitioners because their task is to report the truth, and the truth does not always favor the government. And if this truth does not favor the government and its leaders then the government might think– or simply accuse them even without reason– that they are committing an act of terrorism or anything that could overthrow this country’s leaders. The Act can cause repression of the media because there might be less journalists, reporters and media practitioners who will be willing to risk their lives and reputation just so they could report what’s really happening in this country. All of us have the right to freedom of expression and just like what one of the speakers said (I forgot his name), “your rights are free when you can exercise it without any worries that the government might be after you”.” closed-quote.