Social media regulations by military opposed by lawyers group

Published August 4, 2020, 3:02 PM

by Jeffrey Damicog

A lawyers’ group on Tuesday, August 4, expressed opposition to the plans of the military to impose regulations over social media.


“It is against basic constitutional and international law principles, let alone common sense,” said National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL) president Edre Olalia.

“That is straight from Big Brother redux,” he added as he referred to the George Orwell novel “1984” where society has been placed under close surveillance by “Big Brother”.

Last Monday, Aug. 3, newly-appointed Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gilbert Gapay said he will recommend to the Department of Justice (DOJ) to include regulations on social media usage in the draft implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020.

Gapay explained the platform is “now being used by the terrorists to radicalize and even plan terrorist acts.”

“It is precisely brazen ideas like these overreach intrusions that create the chilling effect which the proponents of the Terror Law keep on spluttering in our faces,” Olalia said.

“It is absurd that the real terrorists will use open and public social media platforms to ‘radicalize and recruit the youth’,” he pointed out.

The lawyer such called the imposition of such regulations on social media as “fishing expeditions” meant only to “look out for legitimate dissent, criticism and alternative views and opinions that those in power do not like, approve or agree with.”

“It is an open assault on free expression that is key to democracy, good governance and public participation,” Olalia declared.

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