MANILA (Mabuhay) — After being pilloried online during the campaign period, Sen. Nancy Binay has now filed a bill seeking to safeguard victims of online violence from further harm against their perpetrators.
In an interview, Binay’s media relations officer Rex Hirang admitted that the senator’s experience during the campaign, which included satirical articles and Internet memes against her, partly fueled her desire to file the bill.
“Part of it, yes, but she is not the only subject of it. Marami nang apektado dito pero walang ginagawa. Dati panawagan lang siya [against cyberbullying] but now it’s a concrete move against it,” he said.
The proposed Electronic Violence Against Women (E-VAW) Law of 2013 intends to amend and expand the provisions of Republic Act 9262 or commonly known as the Violence Against Women and Children Act of 2004.
The bill seeks to regulate the exploitative and irresponsible use of social media that has become “a mode of disseminating scandals involving both television personalities and private individuals.”
It defines “electronic violence” as any act involving the exploitation of data that “can cause or is likely to cause mental, emotional and psychological distress or suffering to the victim.”
This can involve the unauthorized recording, reproduction or distribution of videos showing the victim’s private areas; uploading or sharing any form of media with sensitive and indecent content without the victim’s consent; harassment through text messaging, electronic or any other multimedia means; cyberstalking, including the hacking of personal accounts on social networking sites and the use of location trackers on cellular devices and the unauthorized use of the victim’s identity (pictures, video, voice, name) for distribution that can harm the victim’s reputation.
In a press statement, Binay said most of the cases of online bullying, cyberstalking and other forms of digital harassment are perpetrated by people close to the victims.
“Since the enactment of RA 9262, women and their children have been provided with additional alternatives and protection against abusive conduct and violence. However, the law has not taken into consideration the prevalent and widespread reach of the internet and communication technology,” the neophyte senator said.
The bill provides that any act causing electronic violence against a woman and her child is punishable by incarceration from six months to six years, while threats causing electronic violence can be punished by incarceration from a month to six months.
Offenders can be penalized up to P300,000.00 but not more than P500,000.00, depending on the gravity of distress caused to the victim. The bill also provides a protection order to prevent further harm and distress to any woman and her child. (MNS)