Philippines: access to media sites blocked

  • 28 Jun 2022

Authorities have restricted access to independent news sites citing links to communist and terrorist groups.

The National Union of Journalists has joined the International Federation of Journalists in calling for authorities to restore access to independent media restricted in the Philippines. 

The country’s National Telecommunications Commission has blocked access to 28 media sites, including those it believes are linked to the country’s communist party, New People’s Army and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines.

Independent media sites Bulatlat and Pinoy Weekly known for their public interest journalism have both been blocked, and it is unclear whether they can engage in a review process to have access restored. Both are among independent media sites that have faced cyber-attacks in recent months, linked to the Department of Science and Technology, and the Philippines’ military. 

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) has condemned actions of the NTC and accused authorities of “red tagging”; the action of deliberately labelling organisations as affiliated to terrorist and communist groups to influence perceptions.

The NUJ and NUJP is urging a reversal of the decision by Hermogenes Esperon Jr. National Security Adviser, recognising the significant threat to press freedom.

The IFJ said: 

“Blocking access to independent media organisations under the justification of alleged terrorist affiliations is a clear attempt at censorship and media control. The IFJ urges the Philippines’ authorities, including the NTC, to immediately restore access to all online media sites and ensure press freedom is protected.”

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