The Daily Tribune newspaper was raided and shut down today. Identified as having a pro-Estrada editorial position, the government was clearly after making sure it didn’t come out with a devastating issue on Friday’s events.
I share in this statement from Newsbreak:
Twenty years ago, we regained our freedom of the press. Today, we
stand the risk of losing it.
It is ironic that on the day we celebrate people power, a glorious
and festive moment in our history, we are reminded that our freedoms are
fragile. They can easily be taken away.
We view the raid on Tribune, an opposition newspaper, with alarm.
It appears to signal the start of a crackdown on media organizations.
We have always believed that repression is never the answer to a
critical press. We remind the authorities that a free press is a
cornerstone of a democracy. Without it, we cannot claim to be a
Marites Danguilan Vitug
Editor in Chief
Cell phone 0918-9126615
And so, the crackdown continues.
I seriously propose that the BLAWggers start preparing a common position for bloggers who find themselves shut down for content found offensive by the government. I will give an example of the kind of harassment to expect: one I.T. professional has been falsely rumored to be behind fugitive Nick Faeldon’s website. That government people spread the rumor,despite it’s not being true, suggests they’re out to damage the reputations of those they can, even if they don’t go after them legally. The experience of the PCIJ when it had an entry affected by a court ruling, also comes back to mind. Colleagues believe that for lack of an appropriate law, the internet, as far as free speech or content offensive to the government is concerned, can’t be touched. But the existence or lack of it, of a law, is no guarantee of protection.
For those who wonder why I’m so intransigent (besides my obvious interest as a writer), do read a column I wrote soon after my father’s death in 1998: