NUJP condemns gov’t hand in red baiting

MANILA – The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) deplored the government’s orchestrated campaign to vilify and intimidate their members into silence.

In a statement, NUJP said the Philippine News Agency’s Jan. 8 article, “Red link tag on NUJP not ‘orchestrated’: ex-rebels”  confirmed the government’s involvement in the redbaiting against the group.

“The PNA article follows the style of the canard foisted by the tabloids, which liberally quoted the fantastical and totally fictional account of a supposed ex-rebel and “NUJP founder” who went by the alias “Ka Ernesto” without even bothering to get our side,” the group said, referring to the stories run by three tabloids on Jan. 7 claiming that the NUJP is a legal front of the Communist Party of the Philippines, National Democratic Front and New People’s Army.

The report quotes the purported statement of a purported group of “ex-rebels” called “Kilusan at Alyansa ng mga Dating Rebelde” or KADRE who purportedly “denied that their ‘revelations’ against NUJP being linked with the Left is part of an orchestrated or ‘well-planned’ operation to intimidate the latter into silence.”

KADRE claims in the report that “‘hardcore elements’ in the NUJP made sure to block the release of their stories and their ‘freedom to expose the truth.’

“We truly wonder how could we have blocked the release of any stories when our officers were, in fact, surprised the morning of January 7 when community outfits across the country called them seeking reactions to the Ka Ernesto story, which whoever was pulling the strings made sure was distributed far and wide,” NUJP said.

“As we pointed out earlier, the Red-tagging will never hold water because the NUJP’s members reflect a broad spectrum of creeds and beliefs united in one common cause – to defend and expand the bounds of freedom of the press and of free expression,” the group further said.

“That the state news agency, which is under the supervision of the Presidential Communications Operations Office, saw fit to run this utterly malicious and false story clearly proves that this is, indeed, an orchestrated campaign to vilify and silence not just the NUJP but the independent and critical press, involving no less than the Government of the Republic of the Philippines,” NUJP said.

The group said they are taking it very seriously as a direct threat by government against the NUJP and independent media. The group also vowed to take the necessary steps to protect their members and their rights.

“Again, we say, you will fail. History has proven, tyrants can never silence the truth and suppress freedom of thought and expression. Instead, it is they who will be called to account,” NUJP said. ()

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