Twitter brings Freedom of Expression help search prompt to Philippines

Philippines Twitter Freedom of Expression
Twitter has partnered with the Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines, alternative law groups IDEALS Inc. and the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers to provide timely advice about freedom of expression and digital rights. Image: Twitter Philippines

Twitter has expanded the availability of its Freedom of Expression help notification service and search prompt in Southeast Asia to include the Philippines.

The move comes as Twitter sees the need, particularly for at-risk groups such as journalists and activists, to know their rights and that support is available.

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The Freedom of Expression search prompt is part of Twitter’s global effort to help connect people in need of legal support when exercising the right to freedom of expression.

The microblogging and social networking service is partnering with local civic and government organizations Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines, and alternative law groups Ideals Inc. and National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers to provide quick access to advice or resources related to freedom of expression and digital rights.

Twitter announced its new public service for users in the Philippines, Indonesia, and Malaysia on May 27, 2022, to mark one year since its launch in Thailand, an important milestone for Twitter globally as it was the first search prompt developed for Human Rights Defenders.

HOW IT WORKS

Twitter’s #ThereIsHelp notification service provides timely support to surface authoritative information and provides direct contact information to credible sources of help, enabling people timely access to the information they need.

Whenever Twitter users search keywords associated with freedom of expression, the search prompt will make available hotline numbers of these organizations and links to local partners.

Freedom of Expression search prompts turns up this information on where to seek help to protect your digital rights to expression:

“When the law is weaponized to silence those who speak truth to power, it is important that safeguards are put in place to defend them,” said Atty. Ansheline Bacudio, Program Manager for Human Rights, the Initiatives for Dialogue and Empowerment through Alternative Legal Services (IDEALS). “Through Tisya Hustisya, our online legal platform, we have assisted over 25,000 Filipinos, including those who have experienced threats, harassment, and red-tagging simply for expressing their opinions. We welcome our collaboration with Twitter as we intensify our fight for freedom of expression and empower more people to fight for and claim their rights.”

“The National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (“NUPL”) stands with the people in defending and promoting freedom of expression and the press. These are significant rights that are increasingly compromised in the Philippines, especially with the rise of censorship and the weaponization of penal laws for issues such as cyber libel, disinformation on social networks and cyberattacks on media websites. In this partnership with Twitter, NUPL seeks to provide a safe space for at-risk voices and providing victims of censorship and repression access to important resources through the #ThereIsHelp search prompt,” said Atty. Edre Olalia, President, NUPL.

“The stories that we share and consume help shape our fundamental freedoms and democracy. This is why the Commission on Human Rights is committed to upholding press freedom and fighting disinformation in the Philippines. These issues are amplified online, so we are excited to be collaborating with Twitter to address them and equip Filipinos with the knowledge on their basic human rights and access to resources that seek to protect them,” said Atty. Jacqueline Ann de Guia, Executive Director at Commission on Human Rights (CHR).

Twitter Q&A presented Filipino international broadcaster Rico Hizon on its World Press Freedom Day special.

Twitter Philippines has also been helping women fight violence with its search-prompt notification.

SHARE this story to help Twitter users protect their digital rights to expression amid threats.

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Angie is a self-confessed reformed news critic who vows she has finally found infinite value in delivering the good news. She teaches students of all ages how to make the important interesting for audiences across media platforms.