NUJP: Red tag an assault on press freedom
DAVAO CITY—The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) on Wednesday slammed a certain Mario Ludades for tagging the media group as a “legal front” of communists.
Nonoy Espina, NUJP chair, said in a statement that the Red tagging was “absurd” and an attack on press freedom.
The NUJP was reacting to news reports on Dec. 26 about a certain Mario Ludades, who claimed to be a former ranking officer and founder of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), accusing the NUJP and other journalist groups of being one of the “legal fronts” of the CPP.
“The charge of being a ‘legal front’ of the communists is so absurd it is tempting to dismiss it outright,” said Espina. “Nevertheless, we are treating it seriously because it puts the organization, its officers and members in potential risk.”
Ludades, now the alleged spokesperson of the “No To Communist Terrorist Group Coalition,” pointed to the NUJP, the Students Christian Movement of the Philippines (SCMP), the College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP), as among the CPP’s legal fronts.
“Whether Ludades is or is not what he claims to be, what is clear is that, contrary to his slander, it is he who is being used not only as a propaganda mouthpiece against the rebels but also, and much worse, to spread falsehoods against organizations that are critical of government abuse,” the statement read.
He said the NUJP had been known to speak against the apathy and government inaction that nurtured the culture of impunity surrounding the continued murder of journalists.
“This is, of course, not the first time the NUJP has been the target of such lies,” Espina said, adding that the group had earlier been labeled as among the “enemies of the state” by the military because of its critical reporting on the government.
Espina was referring to the PowerPoint presentation “Knowing the Enemy” created in 2005 by the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
News websites of alternative media outfits Bulatlat and Kodao, which both housed NUJP chapters, were taken down almost simultaneously before noon on Dec. 26, the CPP’s 50th founding anniversary, NUJP said.
“Only those who seek to suppress freedom of thought and of expression would seek to silence them and, for that matter, independent media as a whole,” the statement said. —MART SAMBALUD
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