Statement of the Commission on Human Rights on the proposal to empower DICT to shutdown social media pages that are “inimical to national interest” or are linked terrorism

Statement of the Commission on Human Rights on the proposal to empower DICT to shutdown social media pages that are “inimical to national interest” or are linked terrorism

The Commission recognizes that the State must exercise its police power to prevent terrorism and uphold national security. However, the State must acknowledge that the proposal necessarily entails surveillance power, which impinges on the right to privacy of communication and correspondence as well as the sacred right to private life.  It can also adversely impact the right to freedom of expression. Hence, safeguards are needed to guarantee that such measure will not be utilized to repress legitimate social protest nor to silence criticisms.

To ensure protection of basic freedoms and rights, the provisions must be very precise in order to guarantee utmost due process. The proposed measure should provide that such power can only be activated in the pursuit of a legitimate aim, must be utilized only when necessary, and the exercise of which must be proportionate to the threat. Further, the provisions must indicate that the State needs to be transparent about the methods, nature, and extent of its online surveillance. Such power must also require sufficient justification and specific and detailed benefits to the people.

The threat of terrorism must be expeditiously addressed but we must be scrupulous in ensuring that laws meant to protect the people from such horrors, will not compromise their personal safety, basic freedom, and human dignity. ■

DOWNLOAD FILE HERE