DAVAO CITY, Philippines — The National Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) on Wednesday denounced the claim that it was one of the legal fronts of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).
The claim was made by a certain Mario Ludades, a self-proclaimed former ranking officer and founder of the communist movement in the Philippines.
Ludades, identified himself as belonging to the group the “No to Communist Terrorist Group Coalition” disclosed the information as the revolutionary movement marked its golden anniversary on Wednesday.
Aside from NUJP, Ludades also named the League of Filipino Students, the College Editors Guild of the Philippines, and the Student Christian Movement of the Philippines as legal fronts of CPP.
“The charge of being a ‘legal front’ of the communists is so absurd it is tempting to dismiss it outright.
Nevertheless, we are treating it seriously because it puts the organization, its officers and members in potential risk,” the NUJP said in a statement.
On Wednesday, alternative news websites Bulatlat.com and Kodao.org were apparently taken down. NUJP viewed Ludades’ allegation also as an attack on the freedom of the press.
“That these assaults on freedom of the press and of free expression took place on the 50th founding anniversary of the CPP is clearly no coincidence,” the NUJP said.
“This is, of course, not the first time the NUJP has been the target of such lies. The organization was also one of those identified as ‘enemies of the state’ in the PowerPoint presentation “Knowing the Enemy” created in 2005 by the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and which the military showed in schools and other venues,” the NUJP added.
It added that the takedowns of Bulatlat and Kodao, which state security forces have also time and again accused of links to the revolutionary underground, “bear similar signs as the attack that led to the shutting down of the NUJP site in 2016.”
“The attack on the alternative media outfits happened soon after they posted stories about the CPP. They also come after an incident last week when armed men in civilian clothes believed to be military or police operatives were seen in the vicinity of the office building that houses Kodao..,” the media watchdog added.
NUJP stressed that “alternative media are a legitimate part of the Philippine media community whose take on current events and issues broaden the national discourse and provide an invaluable contribution to the growth of democracy.”(davaotoday.com)