Stop branding media outfits as state enemies, media group tells military

By MARYA SALAMAT
Bulatlat.com

MANILA – Now, it is not just doctors, nurses,priests and nuns, critical netizens, but also scientists and journalists, who should watch out for their safety and human rights.

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) recently pointed out and took exception to a statement by Captain Alberto Caber, public affairs office chief of the Eastern Mindanao Command, who, in claiming that Kim Gargar, a physicist who they arrested in Davao Oriental, is a New People’s Army guerrilla, mentioned that Gargar’s wife is a journalist working at an alternative news outfit – this news outfit, in fact.

Captain Alberto Caber, public affairs office chief of the Eastern Mindanao Command, noted that the scientist’s wife is “a writer of the leftist Bulatlat.com online news website.”

Even if the military’s claims about Gargar were true – although his colleagues in the scientific and academic community vehemently denied it — the NUJP said they still do not see how his wife’s work with Bulatlat.com, which has been operating for several years, is relevant at all to any statement Caber has to make.

NUJP questioned whether the military spokesman is trying “to insinuate that Bulatlat.com’s perceived leanings somehow make Gargar’s wife – and the whole outfit – complicit in the insurgency.”

The military has done the same thing to other groups. NUJP recalled how, in the same manner the military is trying to implicate Bulatlat.com now, the ISAFP also “so famously branded as enemies of the state the NUJP and the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism – and even the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines – in its infamous 2005 PowerPoint “Knowing the Enemy.”

Incidentally, reports reveal that the said PowerPoint is still being shown in schools and other venues throughout the Philippines.

NUJP said “Caber’s thinking has clearly not evolved beyond that of a brute who immediately brands anyone with a different perspective an enemy, the kind of thinking perpetuated during Martial Law that, alas, somehow continues to infect the minds of officers such as him.”

“We demand that Caber publicly apologize to Bulatlat.com, not only for slandering a legitimate news outfit but endangering its staff as well,” the NUJP said in a statement.

It countered that it is in fact the likes of Capt. Caber, who are the real enemies of the state, because their blinders and one-track minds are anathema to the democracy they claim to protect and defend. ()

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