Tag Archives: Freedom of Expression

Excerpts from Report of the Special Rapporteur on the right to freedom of expression

Report of the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, Frank La Rue

Frank La Rue. Photo source: www.unmultimedia.org

Frank La Rue. Photo source: http://www.unmultimedia.org

States’ use of blocking or filtering technologies is frequently in violation of their obligation to guarantee the right to freedom of expression…
The types of action taken by States to limit the dissemination of content online not only include measures to prevent information from reaching the end-user, but also direct targeting of those who seek, receive and impart politically sensitive information via the
Internet. Physically silencing criticism or dissent through arbitrary arrests and detention, enforced disappearance, harassment and intimidation is an old phenomenon, and also applies to Internet users. This issue has been explored in the Special Rapporteur’s report to the General Assembly under the section on “protection of citizen journalists” (A/65/284). Such actions are often aimed not only to silence legitimate expression, but also to intimidate a population to push its members towards self-censorship.


The Special Rapporteur remains concerned that legitimate online expression is being criminalized in contravention of States’ international human rights obligations, whether it is through the application of existing criminal laws to online expression, or through the creation of new laws specifically designed to criminalize expression on the Internet. Such laws are often justified on the basis of protecting an individual’s reputation, national security or countering terrorism, but in practice are used to censor content that the Government and other powerful entities do not like or agree with…


Protect and Defend Freedom of Expression Everywhere, including in Cyberspace

January 20, 2012
Human Rights Online Philippines

Protect and Defend Freedom of Expression Everywhere, including in Cyberspace

The Internet has become a vital communications tool which individuals can use to exercise their right to freedom of expression and exchange information and ideas.

We at the Human Rights Online Philippines (HROnlinePH) use Internet as viable platform in the promotion and protection of human rights in the Philippines. The HROnlinePH features articles, blogs, news information and photos on human rights. Our site also offers current urgent action and list of links to other human rights online resources.

The U.S. Congress, however, is poised to pass a law infringing on freedom of expression. The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act (PIPA) would allow the U.S. government officials and Internet providers to censor access to any website around the world. These dual pieces of anti-online piracy legislation moving through U.S. Congress threaten the core of what we and other free media websites do like blocking any of us from accessing sites like YouTube, Google or Facebook.

SOPA is designed to go after foreign websites that offer copies of music, movies and TV shows with impunity. Even without the provision allowing sites to be blocked, the bill would give authority to the U.S. Department of Justice and copyright holders to demand that search engines delete links to sites “dedicated” to copyright infringement. Ad networks and payment processors would be prohibited from doing business with the sites.

This legislation would make the U.S. one of the worst Internet censors in the world joining China and Iran. We all know that these governments are using increasing sophisticated technologies and tactics which are often hidden from the public censor online content, and monitor and identify individuals who disseminate sensitive information about the government and engage in political activities critical to state affairs, which more often than not lead to arbitrary arrests and detention of individuals.

We at the HROnlinePH recognized that freedom of expression can be restricted in “very exceptional cases” like expression involving child pornography, violence against women, incitement to genocide, advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence and incitement to terrorism are all prohibited under international laws and statutes.

But the attempt to restrict Internet access and to cracking down online piracy must be established by law and be in accordance with international human rights standards and must pursue legitimate grounds for such restriction as set forth in Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), that “(e)veryone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice” and be proven to be necessary and proportionate.

Every State must ensure that everyone enjoys his or her right to freedom of opinion and expression by maintaining free flow of information on the Internet, and ensuring that the Internet is available, accessible and affordable to all.

We should amplify our voice and increase our ranks in putting SOPA and PIPA back from the brink.

The SOPA and PIPA not only dilute and threaten the right to freedom of expression of all Americans and other persons living in the U.S. but everyone around the world.

Protect our Right to Freedom of Expression. Stop Internet Censorship!

Human Rights Online Philippines
January 20, 2012

Well what can I say? I was shocked!

Photo extracted from iamhypocrite.wordpress.com

Ano nga ba ang masasabi ko sa pinag-uusapang “Poleteismo” ni Mideo Cruz?

Una, meron sana kung nagkaron sana ako ng pagkakataong masilip man lang ang art exhibit.  Pero dahil sa biglaang pagpapasara nito, marami ang tinanggalan ng chance of a lifetime na makaexperience ng shock art na ito at isa ako.

Ikalawa, meron, dahil malaya ako sa pagbibigay ng opinyon at kuro-kuro.  At dahil akin ang pahinang ito, malaya ako sa anumang sabihin ko rito.  Hahaha!

Sa kabila ng kakapusan sa batayan, hindi ko napigilang magsalsal ng utak hinggil dito.  Nakitaan ko kasi ng iba’t-ibang perspective ang pumalibot at naglumikot sa isyung ito.

Dahil sa naka-relate ako sa nangyari.  I may not know Mideo Cruz or his art, pero dahil sa umabot na sa pambansang diskusyon ang kanyang art exhibit, saludo ako sa kanya!

“I never go out of my way to offend; but I do like to provoke debates and critical thinking. Art is a way of expressing one’s views about the world, culture and history, and this is what I do in my work. The audience is free to make their own conclusions and interpretations about the images I create, but I must confess I didn’t expect for anyone to react so violently against ‘Poleteismo.’ The worse that I would’ve expected is for no one to come to the CCP and see my work or those of the my colleagues in this exhibition,” Mideo Cuz in Bulatlat.com.

“I wanted to provoke people into thinking. I titled my work ‘Poleteismo’ which loosely translates into ‘many beliefs’ or ‘many deities.’ Throughout history, humanity has grown to create new gods and these are not always religious figures but concepts and objects. Some have taken to worshipping money; some see politicians as godsend. People create idols and these idols whether or not they’re deserving of idolatry or worship affect our lives and how we function and see the world,” Mideo Cuz in Bulatlat.com.


This post is not really about Mideo Cruz, but the lesson I learned from this event.  Natutunan ko na ang kanyang sining ay epektibo.  Na ang kanyang ‘Poleteismo’ ay indeed composed of many beliefs.  Effective dahil his artwork was able to stir reactions from ibang beliefs o perspective.

Hindi ba’t noong unang panahon, witches were hunted and were even killed dahil sa kakaiba nilang practices na hindi akma sa nangingibabaw na kultura at paniniwala noon?

Si Jose Rizal mismo ay tumanggap ng pambabatikos sa kanyang “Noli…” at “Fili…”

Gayundin si Bonifacio na may mga dasal na pinalitan pa ng mga salita ang orihinal na pagkakasulat nito.

Hindi man niya layuning maka-offend but that is what ‘Poleteismo’ is all about.  It has indeed provoked debates and reactions. Sa ganang akin po lamang what is art for?

Kayo what can you say?