Cyber-bullying via social media seen as crime
PICKING on someone on Facebook may soon become a crime.
A bill has been filed at the House of Representatives defining and penalizing “cyber-bullying,” or the act of posting rude, offensive or insulting messages against the victim on the Internet.
“By penalizing acts of cyber-bullying, people are encouraged to become responsible netizens and make them accountable for their cyber-actions,” the author, Camarines Sur Rep. Rolando Andaya Jr., said in an explanatory note.
Cyber-bullying, he said, would 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.”
Offensive acts include 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.
“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.
Under House Bill 5718, or the proposed “Anti Cyber-Bullying Act of 2015,” cyber-bullies shall face a penalty of fines ranging from P50,000 to P100,000, or imprisonment between six months and six years, or both, at the discretion of the court.
“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, “Internet bashing” has become a culture among Internet users and even spawned problems that involve hostility and aggression, Andaya said.
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 of passage.
HB 5718 has been referred to the information communication technology committee chaired by Rizal Rep. Joel Roy Duavit. SFM/ABC
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