Sunday, 7 September 2014



(Or all after reading HB 4807  and why is it being likely to be criticized by many)

It's been a week ago when news about a congressman had filed a bill that is likely to be criticized by many regardless of being passed in its second reading.

As House Bill 4807, known as “Anti-Paparazzi bill” and “An Act protecting against personal intrusion by any person with intent to gain or profit therefrom”, was authored by Congressman Rufus Rodriguez 2nd District of Cagayan de Oro. It was approved on second reading in the House of Representative last August 12 and has since gained mainstream attention as the “anti-selfie bill” due to the provisions equating “selfies” and pictures of an unintentional nature to those of “stalking.”

However, HB 4807 hasn’t received many thumbs-up among congressmen, with both majority and minority members disliking its potential to curtail self-expression and press freedom. It may call it as one of the most stupid bills made by congressmen who are filing bills for the sake of passing it, such as "Adobo Bill" of Rene Relampagos, and "Malunggay Bill" of Gina de Venecia. 

Looking at the bill, and why is it being opposed by many

According to HB 4807, the following acts are considered an intrusion into the personal privacy of another, and shall be presumed to have been committed with the intent to gain or profit:

-Capturing by a camera or sound recording instrument of any type of visual image, sound recording or other physical impression of the person

-Trespassing on private property in order to capture any type of visual image, sound recording or other physical impression of any person

-Capturing any type of visual image, sound recording or other physical impression of a person or family activity through the use of a visual or auditory enhancement device even when no physical trespass has occurred, when the visual image, sound recording or other physical impression could not have been captured without a trespass if no enhancement device was used.

Section 4 of the bill says any person whose personal privacy was intruded as defined may in a civil action against the person who committed the intrusion, obtain any appropriate relief, including compensatory damages, punitive damages, and injunctive and declaratory relief.

Any person obtaining relief may be either the person whose visual or auditory impression has been captured or the owner of the private property trespassed to capture the visual image, sound recording or other physical impression of another.

"The fact that no visual image, sound recording or other physical impression of a person was actually sold for gain or profit shall not be available as a defense in any civil action or proceeding for the enforcement of the provisions of this act," the bill explained.

The only exemption from this act is legitimate law enforcement activities.

Still, criticisable no matter what the intention is

But regardless of its justifications made by Rodriguez et al. The said bill means criticism pointed against them, and hence should be scrapped in spite of its so-called intentions that actually more of “serious implications on freedom of expression and press freedom.” 

As According to BAYAN MUNA representative Carlos Zarate, he said that: 

“At first glance, the terms used in these provisions may seem harmless and well meaning. Yet, a deeper look at how they will impact everyday lives is truly worrisome. It affects not only those in the media profession, but everyone,”

And in a society that values press freedom and freedom of expression, why impose a bill that, like "anti-cybercrime law", and "right of reply bill", rather infringes freedoms people enjoyed? Once, Senator Juan Ponce Enrile wanted to regulate blogsites and bloggers, only to face criticism by those whom using blogs as a means of expression and conveying thought; even this writer has the right to assail knowing that the internet has been a "Democracy Wall" that has to be cherished by many, and those whom wanting to impose some 'regulations' are those whom likely to impose that is unjust to those whom are expressing against their wishes.

So is the person's right to narcissise its own and be criticized by many like the writeup being posted few years before. Let the critics criticize, but to call their narcissistic intention crime? Quite ridiculous.

Anyways, the bill is unlikely to pass since it is heavily criticized by many regardless of its intention. Come to think of this, what if the picture was shot unintentionally, then, is that person who shot that picture has to be accused of a crime that meant imprisonment no matter how unintentional the photo was taken?

 And If passed, then taking a “selfie” will not be an innocent and spontaneous gesture. Those who have made a habit of showing off to friends in social media where they are at the moment will then have to think about a law that may get an act of “selfie” a court case or a jail sentence.

And most whom likely to be accused of stalking are those of the youth whom undoubtedly the most who are doing selfies. People whom are likely to be affected by that bill would think of it as stupid regardless of its intentions, much more that as it said earlier, like any other bills being filed for the sake of being filed as lawmakers.