NTC has no power to block news websites based on 'mere allegations,' says IBP | Inquirer News
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NTC has no power to block news websites based on ‘mere allegations,’ says IBP

/ 06:15 PM June 25, 2022
NTC IBP block websites

The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) has ordered internet service providers to block several websites, including those of independent media, “found to be affiliated to and are supporting terrorist and terrorist organizations.”

MANILA, Philippines — The Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) on Saturday said the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) has no power to restrict access to news websites based on “mere allegations.”

This, after the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) Commissioner Gamaliel Cordoba ordered internet service providers (ISPs) in the country to block the website of Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), its armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA), the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), and other supposed communist-linked websites on the request of National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon.

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The NTC ordered ISPs to block access to 27 websites “affiliated to and are supporting” CPP-NPA-NDF, which the Philippine government designated as terrorist organizations. Among these websites are two that belong to online news organizations.

READ: Telcos ordered to block 27 websites with alleged communist ties

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“The NTC has no power to restrict access to news websites and members of the press based on mere allegations,” the IBP said in a statement. “Neither may it extend the scope of the Anti-Terrorism’s Council’s (ATC) designation order to ‘affiliates at the barest invocation of terrorism.”

The IBP  pointed out that Esperon “merely alleged” the connection between the blocked websites and organizations designated by ATC when he only attached news articles found on the said websites.

“To take down the website is to muzzle their owners. Such a drastic move can’t be anchored on statements that in court would be treated as hearsay,” the IBP also said.

RELATED STORIES:

Telcos ordered to block 27 websites with alleged communist ties

HRW denounces order to ban sites tagged as CPP-linked

Groups slam NTC order to block websites linked to terror organizations

/MUF

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