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PNA story proves gov’t behind vilification—NUJP

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) said a state news agency’s story accusing the media group of maintaining links with the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) confirms government’s hand in the vilification campaign.

Reacting to a Philippine News Agency (PNA) story Tuesday, the NUJP said it can already say for certain that the Rodrigo Duterte government is behind the attacks against the media group.

“Thanks to the Philippine News Agency, which under this administration has been transformed into a paragon of incompetence and fakery masquerading as ‘journalism,’ for providing proof positive with the January 8 article, ‘Red link tag on NUJP not ‘orchestrated’: ex-rebels,” the NUJP said.

“The PNA article follows the style of the canard foisted by the tabloids, which liberally quoted the fantastical and totally fictional account of a supposed ex-rebel and ‘NUJP founder’ who went by the alias ‘Ka Ernesto’ without even bothering to get our side,” the group added.

Four tabloids published stories Monday accusing the NUJP of fronting for the CPP, quoting a certain “Ka Ernesto” who claimed he was a founding member of the union.

The NUJP immediately denied the accusation, saying its membership reflect a broad spectrum of creeds and beliefs united only by their desire to defend and expand the bounds of freedom of the press and of free expression.

Quoting a purported group called Kilusan at Alyansa ng mga Dating Rebelde (KADRE), PNA’s story denied that “revelations” against the NUJP is part of an orchestrated or “well-planned” operation to intimidate critical journalists into silence.

Ang gusto po namin ay malinaw na sagot kung totoo bang legal front ng CPP-NPA-NDF ang NUJP (We just want to know the clear answer if the NUJP is a legal front of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front),” the PNA quoted KADRE as allegedly saying.

KADRE claims it is a group of more than 300 former members of the CPP and New People’s Army nationwide.

The group has yet to make a public appearance.

Aside from PNA and the four tabloids, however, no other media outfit published a story on KADRE’s accusation against the NUJP.

“That the state news agency, which is under the supervision of the Presidential Communications Operations Office, saw fit to run this utterly malicious and false story clearly proves that this is, indeed, an orchestrated campaign to vilify and silence not just the NUJP but the independent and critical press, involving no less than the Government of the Republic of the Philippines,” the NUJP said.

“Pathetic as this effort is, we are taking it very seriously as a direct threat by government against the NUJP and independent media and will take what steps necessary to protect our members and our rights,” the group added.

The NUJP earlier said it is seeking advice for possible legal actions against its accusers. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

‘Futile canard’: Media group denounces red-tagging

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) is thinking of taking legal actions against continued efforts to link the media group with the communist revolutionary movement it sees as part of an orchestrated effort to intimidate it into silence.

NUJP officers found themselves answering requests for interviews today from community news outfits around the country soliciting reactions to charges by someone identified only as “Ka Ernesto,” who claimed to be a former member and supposedly “admitted” that the organization had links to Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founder Jose Ma. Sison.

The group said that when asked where the story originated from, they invariably pointed to banner stories carried by a number of little-known Manila-based tabloids – Police Files Tonite, Bagong Bomba and Saksi Mata ng Katotohanan – all of which carried the exact same headline: “NUJP pinamumunuan ng CPP-NPA-NDF” (NUJP headed by CPP-NPA-NDF), the latter initials referring to the New People’s Army and the National Democratic Front.

Today’s front page of the tabloid Bagong Bomba.

This is the second time in just a few weeks the NUJP has been linked to the revolutionary movement since a certain Mario Ludades, claiming to be one of the founders of the CPP, accused the media group of being a “legal front” of the underground movement in stories run by several outfits on December 26, incidentally the 50th anniversary of the CPP.

“It is hilarious that they keep repeating these charges since the NUJP’s membership represents a broad spectrum of creeds and political beliefs bound by a common dedication to defending and expanding the bounds of freedom of the press and of expression,” the group’s national directorate said in a statement today.

NUJP officers said they were initially tempted to ignore the “fantastic” and “hilarious” account of “Ka Ernesto” but for the fact that it exposes their members and other colleagues to potential danger from those who might readily believe the “canard”.

“With at least 12 colleagues slain under the watch of a president who has actually justified the murder of journalists… and openly and constantly curses and threatens media, we are taking this matter very, very seriously,” the group said.

Today’s front page of the tabloid Saksi.

Duterte’s attacks

Early in his term, President Rodrigo Duterte said in a speech before reporters in his hometown Davao City that media killings are justified.

“Just because you’re a journalist you are not exempted from assassination, if you’re a son of a bitch?” Duterte said.

Duterte never let up against media outfits he perceives to be overly critical of his presidency, even threatening to block media group ABS-CBN’s petition to have its broadcast franchise renewed with the House of Representatives.

In December 2017, Duterte said he would only be willing to compromise with ABS-CBN if the network helps promote his campaign to shift to a federal form of government.

“Kung magtulong kayo diyan sa federal system campaign at gawain ninyong slogan also for the unity and to preserve this republic, makipag-areglo ako,” he said.

He repeatedly threatened the Philippine Daily Inquirer and its owners’ business interests.

Following a tirade against Rappler, the Securities and Exchange Commission cancelled the outfit’s license while prosecutors filed tax evasion charges against its chief executive officer Maria Ressa.

Individual journalists accused of being overly critical against Duterte’s bloody drug war were also threatened and harassed by social media groups and online trolls supportive of Duterte.

Recently, websites of alternative media groups were also digitally attacked they said may be part of the crackdown against so-called communist fronts.

“It does not take genius to figure out who is behind this determined, if futile, effort to cow us. But we tell you now and will tell you again, do your worst, you will fail,” the NUJP vowed.

‘Enemies of press freedom’

The NUJP also condemned the three tabloids who published the “canard”.

“It is unfortunate that there exist within the profession unscrupulous scum who allow themselves to be used by these cowardly enemies of press freedom even if it endangers colleagues,” the NUJP said, obviously referring to the three tabloids.

“But we will let them be. Their venality shames them enough,” the NUJP said.

The group warned, however, that it will hound those who are behind the red-tagging campaign and make them pay should its members are harmed. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

NUJP denounces ‘CPP legal front’ tag, news website takedowns

Dec. 26, 2018

On December 26, 2018, several news outfits carried stories about a certain Mario Ludades, who claims to be a former ranking officer and founder of the Communist Party of the Philippines, accusing the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines of being one of the supposed “legal fronts” of the revolutionary movement.

On the same day, the alternative media outfits Bulatlat and Kodao – which both house NUJP chapters – were taken down almost simultaneously before noon.

That these assaults on freedom of the press and of free expression took place on the 50th founding anniversary of the CPP is clearly no coincidence.

This is, of course, not the first time the NUJP has been the target of such lies. The organization was also one of those identified as “enemies of the state” in the PowerPoint presentation “Knowing the Enemy” created in 2005 by the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and which the military showed in schools and other venues.

In the case of Ludades, who identifies himself as spokesman of the “No to Communist Terrorist Group Coalition” and an indigenous people’s leader in the Cordillera region, it does not take rocket science to guess who is behind him and the lies he spouts.

The charge of being a “legal front” of the communists is so absurd it is tempting to dismiss it outright. Nevertheless, we are treating it seriously because it puts the organization, its officers and members in potential risk.

On the other hand, the takedowns of Bulatlat and Kodao, which state security forces have also time and again accused of links to the revolutionary underground, bear similar signs as the attack that led to the shutting down of the NUJP site a few months back.

The attack on the alternative media outfits happened soon after they posted stories about the CPP.

They also come after an incident last week when armed men in civilian clothes believed to be military or police operatives were seen in the vicinity of the office building that houses Kodao and a number of activist organizations that the government openly tags as “front organizations” of the communist revolutionary movement.

We stress that the “alternative media” are a legitimate part of the Philippine media community whose take on current events and issues broaden the national discourse and provide an invaluable contribution to the growth of democracy.

Only those who seek to suppress freedom of thought and of expression would seek to silence them and, for that matter, independent media as a whole.

If Ludades and his handlers, and those behind the taking down of the Bulatlat and Kodao sites, couldn’t be more wrong if they think they can intimidate us with stupid stunts like these.

The NUJP and all independent Filipino journalists have not and will never be cowed into giving up the continued struggle for genuine freedom of the press and of expression in the country. This is not a boast. It is a fact.

See related article here: https://www.gmanetwork.com/…/ex-cpp-member-exposes-…/story/…

NATIONAL DIRECTORATE

NUJP on the 70th anniversary of the International Human Rights Day

Today marks the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It is terribly unfortunate that seven decades since this landmark document was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly, this day is marked not so much in celebration as in noting how people continue to be deprived of these rights or see these snatched away by repressive governments.

The Philippines, of course, knows this only too well in the last two and a half years since Rodrigo Duterte became president and launched his bloody war on drugs, in waging which he has also taken to openly insulting and attacking critics of the murderous campaign.

Among his targets have been media outfits and their news staff, relentlessly and baselessly accusing them of spreading disinformation, a charge his supporters have echoed and used to threaten and harass journalists, even exhorting others to do the same even as they themselves knowingly spread falsehoods.

Article 19 of the Declaration states: “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”

This right is also enshrined in Section 4, Article 3 of the 1987 Constitution: “No law shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech, of expression, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and petition the Government for redress of grievances.”

As we mark another year of violated human rights and repressed freedoms, the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines reaffirms our commitment to the defense and promotion of freedom of the press and of expression in the country.

We call on all independent Filipino journalists to strengthen our bonds and solidify our ranks, and resist all efforts to silence or otherwise prevent us from fulfilling our task of serving the people’s sacred right to know.

And amid the continuing efforts to silence critical speech and thought, let us give these voices the space and airtime they deserve that they may be heard and contribute to the ever evolving work in progress that is our democracy. #

 

–THE NUJP NATIONAL DIRECTORATE

NUJP, AIJC launch books on journalism

By April Burce

“Are we really a democracy when we kill journalists?” asked National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) chairperson Nonoy Espina as he welcomed partners and guests to the launch of two journalism books “Defending Journalism” and the “Impact of the Reporting of the Mamasapano Incident on the Peace Process” in the Philippines in Quezon City Wednesday.

“These are trying times because we have already lost 11, which according to our records, is the worst ever in the first two years of any president,” Espina said, referring to the number of journalists killed under the Rodrigo Duterte presidency.

“We are afraid it might get worse before it gets better,” he added.

The first book, “Defending Journalism”, is a comparative analysis of how national mechanisms can protect journalists and address the issue of impunity in seven countries.

“Impact of Reporting of the Mamasapano Incident on the Peace Process in the Philippines,” is a review of how the Philippine mass media affected the national discourse after the incident that plunged former President Benigno Aquino to unprecedented lows during the last years of his term.

The books are a collaboration of the NUJP and the Asian Institute of Journalism and Communication with support from International Media Support (IMS).

In their messages, Lidasan and Ocampo stressed the importance of providing context in the reportage of vital issues, including conflict and human rights.

Journalist Satur Ocampo said, “the coverage of the investigations on countries with experiences of killings of journalists are mostly characterized by long-term social, economic, political and military conflicts. There’s always a connection between the way a state deals with armed conflicts and coverage of armed conflicts and how governments regarded journalists in accordance with the content of what they write.”

Commission on Human Rights chairperson Chito Gascon lauded journalists as human rights defenders, saying freedom of expression and freedom to information are non-derogable rights and cannot be exempted, excused or set aside even in cases of national emergency.

“That is how fundamental these rights are. And our journalists are at the forefront of upholding these rights. Unfortunately, these reports and our experience and history will show that there remains much to be done,” Gascon said.

Gascon pledged the CHR’s support for the campaign to defend freedom of the press and of expression, and to keep journalists safe in a country long described as one of the deadliest places for the profession.

IMS’s Lars Bestle pointed out that the launching of the books is crucial because freedom of expression is under threat in the Philippines.

In his message, IMS’s Lars Bestle pointed out that the launching of the books is crucial because freedom of expression is under threat in the Philippines.

Bestle added that a journalist is killed every five days around the world.

“Our key finding is that all media stakeholders –from government to media, police, and civil society—have to take responsibility and work together to ensure the media’s ability to report freely, safely and accurately without fear of retribution,” he added.

AIJC President Ramon Tuazon said that “Defending Journalism” is not just a book title but a constant reminder to continuously protect freedom of the press and freedom of expression.

“We often encounter publications that examine, ad infinitum, the root causes of impunity in the killing of journalists. ‘Defending Journalism’ provides a fresh approach by choosing to highlight what various stakeholders have successfully done and can do to address the issue and not to be hostaged by the problem,” Tuazon said.

The event was participated in by representatives from major journalism and news organizations including NUJP, IMS, AIJC, UNESCO, Philippine Press Institute (PPI), Center for Community Journalism and Development, Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility, Moro-Christian People’s Alliance, as well as representatives from the Royal Danish Embassy, and Sri Lankan ambassador to the Philippines Aruni Ranaraja. #

Group assails FB for taking down accounts critical of Duterte

An arts and media group has slammed social media platform Facebook for taking down accounts of Duterte critics Mae “Juana Change” Paner and the popular Pinoy Ako Blog (PAB) creator Jover Laurio.

The Let’s Organize for Democracy and Integrity (LODI), itself critical of attacks on press freedom and freedom of expression under the Rodrigo Duterte government, today assailed Facebook for the move against Paner and Laurio, two well-known critics of President Duterte.

“We demand that Facebook immediately and unconditionally restore Mae’s account,” veteran journalist and LODI convenor Inday Espina Varona said.

Mae’s takedown followed a similar action last week against Jover, LODI in a statement said.

It took two days of “bombardment” by Laurio and many supporters to restore her account.

“We call on Facebook to stop being complicit in the silencing of President Duterte’s critics,” Varona said.

She noted that Mae’s posts in the last few days have been largely on #BabaeAko , a campaign against President Rodrigo Duterte’s misogyny.

“This is not the first time Facebook has taken down accounts of activists and politically-involved Filipinos, and Facebook Pages maintained by activist organizations and campaigns. Facebook has also been censoring content, as we saw in the taking down of posts critical of the Marcoses,” Varona said.

“Facebook recently announced that it would take steps to combat the proliferation of Fake News. But what has been more pronounced, as in the case of Mae and the others, is that it is wittingly or unwittingly helping silence voices exposing and fighting Fake News,” she added.

Facebook’s ‘dangerous’ Real Name policy

Another LODI convenor, newspaper columnist Tonyo Cruz, in the statement said that the implementation of Facebook’s Real Name policy is apparently doing more harm than good especially in the Philippines.

“Many activists and campaigners in other countries ruled by dictatorships have long asked Facebook not to deny citizens the right to use pseudonyms which prove important in protecting dissenters,” said Cruz.

“I didn’t expect that we’d need it in 2018, but there sure are legitimate reasons for many Filipinos to use pseudonyms amid Duterte’s rising tyranny,” Cruz added.

Cruz said the application of the Real Name policy on Paner could not have been a result of due diligence or even the most basic investigations.

“A simple Google search about Mae Paner would lead Facebook officers and staff to plenty of stories, images and videos about her, including links to her Facebook account,” Cruz said.

Cruz added that Facebook should also check reports that the takedowns of the accounts of Mae and Laurio are a result of “mass reporting” by Duterte supporters.

“If this is true, Facebook should take steps against those who game its reporting system. There are lots of accounts that spread Fake News and hate speech that should be taken down. Accounts of activists should be spared and protected,” Cruz said.

Paner is among LODI’s co-founders and co-convenors. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Statement of Solidarity for The Bedan Roar

The Bedan Roar is the Senior High School student publication of San Beda College. Its recent issue that tackled social issues was disallowed by school authorities from distribution because it was deemed “too critical” of the government of San Beda College of Law alumnus Rodrigo Duterte.

The following statement was issued and signed by members of The Bedan Alumni Association, former editors and staff of The Bedan, the official student publication of the San Beda College of Arts and Sciences.

= = = = =

We the alumni of The Bedan student publication loudly express our solidarity with the editors and staff of The Bedan Roar, the student publication of San Beda University Senior High School.

We also strongly protest the repressive actions of the school officials who ordered the censorship of The Bedan Roar’s latest issue.

The issue is being banned from circulation as it was deemed too critical of the powers that be in Malacañang.

This is a blatant betrayal of the values generations of Bedans have been taught: love of the truth and to fear neither fire nor blood.

We alumni of The Bedan are all too familiar when those in power wield their authority to muzzle the voice that dare ask who, what, where, when, how and most importantly why.

Not too long ago, our beloved The Bedan was also under a blitzkrieg of attack and almost ceased publication because of the actions of a few ill-intentioned men with authority.

We now see similar attacks happening to our brothers and sisters in ink who remain critical of men with authority.

There is an old saying that states: “May you live in interesting times.” The phrase is allegedly a translation of a Chinese curse deftly cloaked in the guise of a blessing.

It is not far-fetched to feel and believe that we have indeed been subjected to the curse of interesting times. We say this as we The Bedan alumni observe that no other time in recent history have we been deeply divided as we are now with the current state of the nation.

There is a heated if not altogether violent conflict over principles that our so-called democracy is anchored on. In our history, there have always been starkly different views on the rule of law, respect for human rights and freedom of expression. What is disturbing in these most interesting of times is that there is a fast growing number of Filipinos, including our own families and friends, who would gladly surrender these constitutionally-enshrined values in the belief that it will pave the way for a more peaceful and prosperous country.

They would gladly acquiesce their rights to provide the state absolute control over governing the so called “un-governable.” They would gladly silence any voice of dissent that will get in the way of the state’s vision of change.

In their version of the Philippines, there is no room for those who question, those who doubt, and those who dare challenge.

Indeed, we are living in the most interesting, and the most dangerous of times, where criminal justice has been all but replaced by extra-judicial killing, public discourse has been supplanted by social-media trolling and political debates bulldozed by gerrymandering.

We are at a time in our nation’s history when our beliefs and actions will play a critical role in what the future will look like for future generations. The stand that we take now on the rule of law, respect for human rights and freedom of expression will define who we really are as a people.

The young editors and staff of The Bedan Roar took a stand and those entrusted to mold their characters tried to silence their voice.

May we remind these so called educators that history is not kind to tyrants and their minions.

There is another related, again allegedly Chinese maxim that goes: “Better be a dog in peace, than a man in anarchy.”

The clarion is calling, and we Bedans must definitively and unequivocally answer it for we are not dogs but Lions after all.

NUJP to Piñol: Filing civil complaint vs Baguio journo in Cotabato harassment

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) described as harassment agriculture secretary Manny Piñol’s two-pronged cyber libel case against Baguio journalist Frank Cimatu over a Facebook post.

In a statement, the NUJP said Piñol’s move illustrates how the law is often used not to seek redress as to harass perceived foes, and why the offense should be decriminalized.

“It is doubly unfortunate that Sec. Pinol, who makes much of the fact that he is a former journalist, should even think of unreasonably punishing a former colleague by filing a complaint in a venue on the opposite side of the country as Cimatu,” the NUJP said.

Piñol filed a criminal complaint in Quezon City Wednesday against Cimatu over his September 24 Facebook post.

“Agri sec got rich by P21-M in 6 months. Bird flu pa more” Cimatu’s post said.

The official also announced he will file a civil complaint in Kidapawan City in Cotabato province.

“I am a government official but I will not be a punching bag to reporters like Cimatu. It is time to teach people like him a lesson,” Piñol in turn posted on his Facebook page.

Cimatu declined to comment further on the development, saying he has yet to receive copies of the complaints.

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“…That where one of the offended parties is a public officer whose office is in the City of Manila at the time of the commission of the offense, the action shall be filed in the Court of First Instance of the City of Manila or of the city or province where the libelous article is printed and first published, and in case such public officer does not hold office in the City of Manila, the action shall be filed in the Court of First Instance of the province or city where he held office at the time of the commission of the offense or where the libelous article is printed and first published…”–RA 4363 (1965), amending Article 360 of the Revised Penal Code 

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The NUJP however said Pinol’s threat to file the civil aspect of his complaint in Mindanao is prohibited by law, specifically 1965’s Rep. Act No. 4363, which amended Article 360 of the Revised Penal Code which orders that public officers should file their complaints where they hold office.

Piñol primarily holds office in Quezon City.

“It seems evident that a ranking government official who seeks to compel a journalist from Baguio City to travel all the way to Kidapawan is engaged not in an attempt to seek redress but to inflict a punishment that is way too cruel and excessive for the perceived offense, which is yet, we stress, to be proven in court that it could well enter into a gross abuse of the powers of his position,” the NUJP said. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

STATEMENT: The NUJP on Duterte siblings’ threats against local broadcaster

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines views with concern the statements of Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte against broadcaster Dodong Solis of Radyo ni Juan.

The mayor has resorted to personal attacks in response to commentaries of Solis on the agrarian unrest between farmers and Lapanday Foods Corp.; the recent attack of New People’s Army rebels against the company that unfortunately resulted in the death of a bystander; and on statements she issued, including her husband Manases “Mans” Carpio’s association with Lapanday as lawyer.

Solis’ remarks are part of his work as a broadcaster and an exercise of his Constitutionally-guaranteed right to freedom of expression.

The mayor has the same right to refute these remarks.

But in a statement, the mayor said:

“Naluoy kos imong asawa, iyaha kinabuhi nagdepende ra intawn sa imong babà, di pud siya kaayo makalayo kay gamay rapud baya imong utok,” Duterte said in a Facebook post. (I pity your wife, your life only depends on your mouth, she can’t leave you because you have a small brain. If I were her, I would leave you.)

“I am fair game but do not touch my husband. Open your mouth again about my husband and I will tell your wife and your entire family about your secrets.”

Her brother and vice mayor Paolo Duterte exercised the same power on Solis, with the former threatening to beat up the broadcaster.

“Asa man imong pangutok? Kinsa ka? Wa ko kaila nimo! Sikat ka o gapasikat?” said the vice mayor in an open letter posted on his Facebook page. (Where’s your brain huh? Who are you anyway? I don’t know you! Are you famous or just trying to be one?)

“Ayaw ko unahi kay ug imo hilabtan akong pamilya di ko mag duha duha ug bukbok nimo.”
(Don’t start with me, because if you do, I won’t think twice to beat you up.)

Resorting to personal attacks and veiled threats is alarming especially coming from an official who has physically attacked and publicly humiliated a court sheriff whom she perceived to have defied her instructions in the demolition of houses of informal settlers.

The mayor is no ordinary person. She wields influence and power not only due to her office but as daughter of the highest official of the country.

As a public official, she is subject to commentaries and criticisms especially from the press and should not respond with personal attacks and threats.

NUJP condemns slay try on Surigao broadcaster; lauds conviction of police officer for murder of Mati radioman

STATEMENT
July 1, 2016

NUJP condemns slay try on Surigao broadcaster; lauds conviction of police officer for murder of Mati radioman

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines condemns the assassination attempt on our Surigao City colleague Saturnino “Jan” Estanio of Radio Mindanao Network-dxRS, which left him, his 12-year old son, and a neighbor slightly wounded. Read more