NUJP: Red-tagging of journalists ‘idiotic,’ puts them in danger
A group of journalists found itself the subject of Red-tagging even before the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) was subjected to profiling by the Philippine National Police as part of state efforts to defeat communist rebels.
The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) decried reports alleging that the media group was a “legal front” of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), its armed wing New People’s Army, and umbrella organization National Democratic Front of the Philippines.
The reports, which came out in tabloids, were based on claims made by a certain Mario Ludades in the run-up to the CPP’s 50th founding anniversary on Dec. 26 last year and by a certain “Ka Ernesto,” supposedly a former CPP member.
The reports referred to Ludades as a self-proclaimed founder of the communist movement in the country.
“The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines denounces continued efforts to link us to the communist revolutionary movement, which we see as part of an orchestrated effort to intimidate us into silence,” the NUJP said in a statement issued on Monday.
In defense of press freedom
The group stressed that its membership “represents a broad spectrum of creeds and political beliefs bound by a common dedication to defending and expanding the bounds of freedom of the press and of expression.”
“We were initially tempted to ignore the fantastic and, to be honest, hilarious account of ‘Ka Ernesto,’ but for the fact that, as idiotic as this attempt to smear the NUJP is, it exposes our members and other colleagues to potential danger from those who might readily believe this canard,” the media union said.
“With at least 12 colleagues slain [on] the watch of a president who has actually justified the murder of journalists… and openly and constantly curses and threatens [the] media, we are taking this matter very, very seriously,” it added.
Dismayed that other journalists had “allowed themselves to be used by cowardly enemies of press freedom even if it endangers colleagues,” the NUJP said it was consulting legal experts on how to deal with the allegations. —Reports from Jaymee T. Gamil and Melvin Gascon
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