IAWRT Philippines on government order to block independent media websites

IAWRT PH Stands with the Independent Media

This is appalling. Yet, if this is meant to send shock waves to the independent media, malign and silence them, goodness, the intent is failing.

National Security Adviser Secretary Hermogenes Esperon Jr. has ordered the immediate blocking of independent media websites such as bulatlat.com and pinoyweekly.org on the basis of an opinion that these outfits are terrorist-affiliated or supporting terrorist organizations.

Plain and simple, red-tagging is media repression.

Independent media, also known as alternative media, have always stood their ground and even complement the dominant media in bringing information to the public to make informed decisions. Operating for service and not for profit, they are fearless in raising controversial issues and hold government leaders accountable for their actions.

Hence it is not surprising that they are often at odds with government officials. But the recent blocking is carrying red-tagging to another level of recklessness and irresponsibility that brutally attacks press freedom and the right of the public to know.

As expected, bulatlat.com and pinoyweekly.org did not take this sitting down and immediately denounced this act despite threats to their profession and their security, even.

Likewise, this recent attempt at muzzling the independent press, carried out in blitzkrieg fashion, has only resulted in media people holding each other’s back in defense of press freedom and gaining broader support from the public.

In this regard, the Philippine chapter of IAWRT (International Association of Women in Radio and Television) stands solidly behind, and in solidarity, with the independent media. It also calls on Secretary Esperon to rescind his order.#

[Several IAWRT Philippines members work with Bulatlat and Pinoy Weekly.]