By ALYSSA MAE CLARIN
MANILA–Forty-eight years after then President Ferdinand Marcos declared Martial Law, journalists and press freedom advocates joined the launch of the campaign dubbed as “Masked Media.”
Spearheaded by the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines, the campaign aims to support and defend journalists who are being silenced in their pursuit of the truth.
Proceeds from the campaign sales will help fund legal defense aid for journalists facing libel and cyber libel cases, as well as other cases such as illegal arrests.
According to NUJP, there are 24 libel and cyber libel cases filed against journalists since 2016.
The campaign was done in partnership with a volunteer advertising agency who had reached out to NUJP for a possible fundraising campaign.
“When they reached out, they told us: we wanted to be part of the fight and support the cause of journalists,” said NUJP Secretary General Dabet Panelo.
The advertising agency, who designed and conceptualized the Masked Media campaign, used cloth masks with a red hand over the mouth, a clear symbolism of the current state of press freedom in the country.
“Today, we renew our commitment to defend press freedom by serving the people’s right to know. Let our vow be: A free press for free people,” said NUJP in its statement.
Journalists Atom Araullo, Inday-Espina Varona, Jon Nery and Maria Ressa posted their photos wearing the mask on their social media accounts. Human rights lawyer Chel Diokno also wore the mask when he attended the tribute to Martial Law martyrsat the Bantayog ng mga Bayan.
#DefendPressFreedom #FightTyranny Living in the dark. A martial law baby’s story. (Thread)
The newspapers disappeared and the television went on the blink when I was in grade 3. Dad didn’t know how to explain events to kids who had learned early to be news junkies. pic.twitter.com/4jLpZtHNHw
— inday espina varona (@indayevarona) September 21, 2020
SUPPORT #MASKEDMEDIA! Stop the attacks against free press ? Press freedom is vital to democracy. Critical and independent media is essential for reporting the truth and holding power to account!
— Sarah Elago (@sarahelago) September 21, 2020
Today is the 48th anniversary of martial law in the Philippines. We learn the lessons of history and say #NeverAgain. Pag walang press freedom, mawawalan ka rin ng kalayaan para malaman ang katotohanan. #DefendPressFreedom #DefendYourRight2Know @nujp pic.twitter.com/BG6FGNx5Cu
— Atom Araullo (@atomaraullo) September 21, 2020
How can 1 man stay in power for 21 yrs? Shutdown media, threaten & jail journalists. After court today, I remember: pag walang press freedom, mawawalan ka rin ng kalayaang malaman ang katotohanan. #DefendYourRight2Know #DefendPressFreedom @nujp @ABSCBNNews @rapplerdotcom pic.twitter.com/b7OPNjmOsr
— Maria Ressa (@mariaressa) September 21, 2020
#PressFreedom is freedom to know the truth. “‘Pag walang #PressFreedom, mawawalan rin tayo ng kalayaan para malaman ang Kototohanan.” #DefendYourRight2Know #DefendPressFreedom pic.twitter.com/PGjseySj72
— John Nery (@jnery_newsstand) September 21, 2020
— Bulatlat (@bulatlat) September 21, 2020
The masks, priced at P150 per piece, were sold out in less than 24 hours. The public can order the cloth masks in NUJP’s Lazada and Shopee accounts, once they are available:
Supporters may donate to the fund through the bank account:
Account name: National Union of Journalists of the Philippines
Account Number: 229-7-229-50757-1