Attacks against PH press on a silencing spree

Photo from Ang Pahayagang Plaridel of De La Salle University

The attacks against Philippine press continues as the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) announced yesterday their recommendation to close 30 radio stations in the Davao region for allegedly violating provisions in the communications and broadcasting laws.

NTC emphasized that the move is in adherence to the constitution and not to stifle press freedom. But this is a clear brazen move of the US-Duterte regime’s calibrated attacks on the freedom of the press especially in a time of tumultuous political and economic conditions.

The move to continuously shut down media operations in various regions in the country proves that there is a strong, growing distaste and dissent to his administration especially with his anti-people projects and neoliberal economic policies.

“Duterte is a deranged tyrannical ruler who thinks he can silence the entire Filipino nation. Media practitioners and institutions are the conduits for the people to reach the government for resolution of issues and demands, even if it entails heavy criticism and scrutiny towards his regime,” said Jose Mari Callueng, national president of the College Editors Guild of the Philippines.

In a news article published by Sun Star Davao yesterday, the NTC has already recommended a cease and desist order to two radio stations located on Matina Shrine Hills and Toril. However, NTC regional director Nelson Caneta did not disclose the rest of the names of the other radio stations they’ll be closing down this year.

According to Callueng, the intolerance of the Duterte administration to criticism and progressive reportage are tell-tale signs of a looming dictatorship. This is in comparison with how Duterte lauds fake news bloggers, pseudo-journalists like Sass Sasot and Mocha Uson, and how he created a paid army of trolls to defend his fascist rule.

“The administration is stringent in implementing the constitution to what they call ‘erring’ media outfits, but is extremely desperate to alter the Philippine constitution to completely bare the country naked to imperialist powers, oligarchs, and plunderers with no restrictions,” Callueng said.

Suppression of the Philippine press is happening simultaneously with how Duterte suppresses the Filipino people. The gagging of the press is only a small picture of the entire frame of fascism perpetuated by the US-Duterte regime. Thousands of Filipinos have been killed in his murderous war on drugs and thousands more suffer in his counterinsurgency program Oplan Kapayapaan and martial law rule in Mindanao.

Despite the demolition job of the fascist US-Duterte regime directed to the Philippine Press, the College Editors Guild of the Philippines will continue to defend freedom of the press and fight for its duty to the Filipino people especially that it is a bulwark of truth and people’s democratic interests.

The Guild would like to remind the US-Duterte regime of the press’ pivotal role during the Marcos dictatorship the he is so fond of emulating. History has become a witness as to how the Philippine press has risen above a fascist dictatorship.

We calls on campus journalists, media practitioners, organizations, and individuals that are for the advancement of the people’s rights and welfare, to unite and combat state-perpetuated violence and all forms of repression that target press freedom and the people’s democratic rights.

CEGP invites everyone to join the mobilization tomorrow, 6:00 pm at the Boy Scouts’ Circle in Tomas Morato, Quezon City.