A call for solidarity

www.nujp.org <http://www.nujp.org>

Feb. 26, 2006

A call for solidarity

For a few years now, the global media community has acknowledged the
Philippines among the most dangerous places for journalists. In the
past two years, our country has been second only to Iraq in the number
of media killings. Philippine journalists have fought hard to roll
back the tide of violence. Today, however, the Philippine press faces
its strongest challenge.

In declaring a “state of national emergency,” President Gloria
Macapagal-Arroyo made media among her main targets. She and senior
aides warned of government takeover of media facilities considered
friendly to the political opposition.

Police have already raided the offices of the Daily Tribune, a
national daily. Armed men in civilian clothes have gone around the
offices of Abante, the country’s biggest tabloid. Police had earlier
arrested Randy David, a columnist of the Philippine Daily Inquirer,
holding the award-winning journalist and sociologist for five hours
prosecutors said there was no ground to charge him with any crime.

The government deployed troops to the compounds of ABS-CBN and GMA-7,
the country’s largest television networks. The government’s claim was
that the soldiers were protecting these stations from a potential
takeover by destabilizers.

Police have also declared that they would not hesitate to takeover
media entities found “aiding” the administration’s enemies. The police
also said they would soon release “standards” or guidelines that
journalists must follow and that investigators and prosecutors were
monitoring the news.

By the government’s definition, providing aid to Mrs. Arroyo’s enemies
includes interviewing opposition parties. In simple terms, the
administration wants media to present only the side of the embattled
government, using force and coercion to bend journalists to its

Filipinos, journalists included, fought a long, hard battle to regain
democracy after two decades of tyranny. That Mrs. Arroyo timed this
crackdown on civil liberties with the anniversary of the Marcos
dictatorship’s fall only highlights her break with the democratic
aspirations of Filipinos. Even as she warns enemies of feeling the
full force of the law, Mrs. Arroyo flaunts constitutional guarantees
to free speech and expression and press freedom.

Leaders of Philippine society have spoken out against the government’s
iron-hand tactics. The Philippine journalism community has also moved
fast to unite against this grand assault on press freedom. Today,
(Sunday, Feb. 26), the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines
will lead various organizations and individual journalists in
protesting the crackdown on media. The Philippine media community
intends to send Mrs. Arroyo a strong message: We will not go gently
into the night.

We call on all our colleagues in print, broadcast and digital
journalism worldwide to support Philippine media in this dark hour.
Please add your voice to our protest. Let us collectively condemn the
crackdown on Philippine media and remind Mrs. Arroyo that no country
can be free to prosper if its media is silenced and cowed. You can
send protest letters to the government through the Office of the Press
Secretary at [email protected], with facsimile number (632) 735-6167 or
deliver these to the nearest Philippine embassy and consulate. You can
send solidarity messages to the NUJP through its email address,
[email protected] or post this on our website, www.nujp.org <http://www.nujp.org> .

National Union of Journalists of the Philippines

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Manuel L. Quezon III.

8 thoughts on “A call for solidarity

  1. I think it is absurd for the police to issue guidelines on how to report or what to report. When I watch the government stations talk show programs talk about the political situation, I am aghast. It is PROPAGANDA at its finest. God help us.

  2. freedom w/o responsibility is just like looking for trouble.it’s so disturbing that those who spread venum can be so important.
    I remember watching argee guevara on anc after he was “inconvineced” by the law.
    he beleaves so much for what his fighting for but can’t leave w/ the consequence.
    bottom line, if you don’t want to be “inconvienced” by the law then don’t challage it!
    but we seem to be a country that insted of working hard for long term gains. we insted pushing everything to the limit & complain about consequences.
    we seem to be a country w/ 70 million presidents who specialize in finger pointing & knowing-it-all but have little to show anyway.diciplin & focusing are the last things we are capable off.focusing on distruction yes.

    I would rather give pgma the shawdow of a doubt.because i’m very well aware that the ememies of the state are playing a dirty game.it started last year.it did not work so they are still pushing it.who where the people on the street last friday.the same old people w/ nothing better to do. i also know they have nothing good to present anyway.

    Can anyone tell me w/c country in the world propered because of press freedom?
    Can anyone tell me w/c where the factors that propeled countries to first world status?

    The enemies of the state will do anything to keep this country poor because they can only fool the poor & idealist.

  3. I have been watching Mike D. explaining the position of goverment regarding the tribune issue.
    the tribune has been an opposition newspare for a long time now & never has the goverment said anything.
    It seems that goverment is making pakiusap to tribune to chill for a while since the situation is still volatile.Is that unfair?
    Is press freedom really threatened if a newspaper tones down for a bit until things can be normal again?
    Is it not the obligation of all citizens to do their bit for the nation?
    Is freedom about openly or indirectly giving support to those who want to grab power.

    I just hope the matters are not exploited for their “drama” value.

    I have been reading some comments from abroad & it’s a shame of what they think of us.

  4. joey, would you call warrantless arrests responsible and fair? would you call raiding a private office \”making pakiusap\”? evading truth when the people asked for it; is that responsible and fair?

  5. joey,

    I do not know if I should admire for holding firm to your convictions or laugh at you for being the odd man out.

  6. In Germany, they came first for the communists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists but I didn’t speak up because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn’t speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time nobody was left to speak up.

    — Martin Niemöller

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