The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines calls on the community of independent Filipino journalists and on all Filipinos who cherish freedom and democracy to support the alternative media against the utterly malicious and clearly criminal red-tagging by security officials at the December 1 hearing of the Senate Committee on National Defense and Security, Peace, Unification and Reconciliation.
It has always been a matter of pride for the NUJP to have the alternative media with us and count some of their best journalists as leaders of the organization.
These small but courageous news outfits play a vital role in serving the people’s right to know through reportage and analysis that provide fresh perspectives to often under-reported social issues – land reform, human rights, the environment and injustice, to name a few – and oft-neglected sectors – the peasants, small fisher folk, the urban poor, laborers and indigenous people.
The otherwise unheard or ignored voices they bring to the national conversation strengthen our democracy by helping shape a fuller, more accurate picture of our society, of our people.
This, of course, is what those who seek to impose their will on us fear most and why they seek to silence not only the alternative media but independent Philippine media as a whole.
Baseless accusations against the alternative media are nothing new, of course. But the level of vilification from this administration, through the agencies and officials in the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict, indicates that government and its security machinery are bent on silencing contrary views and voices, and force conformity on our people.
Make no mistake, this assault on the alternative media is no different from the silencing of ABS-CBN and the continued attacks on Rappler and other critical and independent news organizations that insist on fulfilling our role of watchdog, of holding power to account, of speaking truth to power.
We cannot, we must not, allow them to succeed. Let us once and for all show them that we, the Philippine media and people, are free not because we are allowed to but because we insist on being free. #