Rights agency: online threats violate human rights

Rights agency: online threats violate human rights

Rights agency: online threats violate human rights

Multi-sectoral poll watchdog Bantay Karapatan sa Halalan says online threats and harassments are human rights violations, too. (Photo from the official Facebook page of BKH)

Online threats, abuse, and other forms of politically-motivated violence made on social media are forms of human rights violations, the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) wants Filipinos to remember.

On Monday, April 18, the rights agency lamented the rampant spread of election-related violence and threats across various online platforms as election day nears.

The CHR seeks to address this through its Bantay Karapatan sa Halalan (BKH) campaign, a multisectoral group formed in partnership with poll watchdogs and human rights groups.

"We should protect our digital rights during elections. While social media is a great tool to exercise our human rights and freedom of speech, it's also used for human rights abuse," said Mich Rama of Dakila, one of the human rights groups involved in BKH.

"More than just cyberbullying, there's gender-based violence like rape threats and name-calling," added Rama.

Rama stressed that online and offline human rights are the same and should be treated with the same protection.

The BKH website provides a platform for netizens to report online abuse, using screenshots as proof. They could also file a human rights complaint at the central and regional CHR offices.

The rights watchdog hopes the national police's Anti-Cybercrime Group could track fake accounts often used by online abusers.

The group is also advocating to include election-related cyberbullying in the Cybercrime Law.

An Electronic Violence Against Women bill, filed by Senator Nancy Binay in 2013, is currently pending in the Senate.

The bill seeks to protect women from online harassment, blackmailing, cyberbullying, cyberstalking, and hacking.

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