Journalists, artists unite against Duterte’s attack on press freedom

Features Philippines Jan 26, 2018 at 4:18 pm


By Kathy Yamzon

Journalists and artists wearing black shirts gathered today at the Boy Scout Circle in Quezon City for the #BlackFriday protest calling on everyone to defend press freedom and fight what they call ‘tyranny’ in light of the government’s revocation of online news site Rappler’s license and the court’s subpoena against its CEO Maria Ressa. Several media groups believe it is an orchestrated effort of President Rodrigo Duterte and his government in stifling his critics and the press.

Maria Ressa and several other Rappler executives and reporters attended the protest. Other prominent media personalities present in the activity were Malou Mangahas of the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, University of the Philippines Mass Communications professor, Danilo Arao, film director Joel Lamangan; blogger and columnist Tonyo Cruz, veteran journalist, TV5 broadcaster Atty. Mel Sta. Maria, and artist Mae Paner.

The #BlackFriday protest was organized by media and artists groups, Let’s Organize for Democracy and Integrity (LODI), National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP), Altermidya People’s Alternative Media Network and the College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP). The protest comes after the decision of the Securities and Exchange Commission to cancel the news outfit’s license for allegedly violating constitutional restrictions on foreign ownership of media entities through the Philippine Despositary Receipt (PDR). The separate subpoena issued against Ressa and a former Rappler reporter stemming from a cybercrime complaint  on an article published way back 2012.

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