NUJP to NSC's Malaya: Practice of red-tagging already well-documented | Inquirer News

NUJP to NSC’s Malaya: Practice of red-tagging already well-documented

/ 02:30 PM February 01, 2024

MANILA, Philippines — The National Union of Journalists in the Philippines (NUJP) on Thursday challenged National Security Council (NSC) official Jonathan Malaya’s remarks on “red-tagging,” saying that the term itself has been recognized by rights organizations in the country and abroad.

Red-tagging refers to the baseless attribution of certain individuals as members of communist groups, NUJP said in a previous statement. This has been repeatedly condemned by rights defenders and community journalists who fall victim to such accusations.

Malaya, the NSC’s assistant director general, said in a statement on January 31 that the Philippines has no law on red-tagging, which means “making it a crime is impossible.”


READ: Red-tagging at its worst


According to Malaya, the term is only being used by “communist terrorist groups” to allegedly vilify the government.

But NUJP fired back at the NSC official and stressed that while red-tagging is yet to be criminalized, it “damages the subjects’ reputations and is an act that can and has put them at risk of harassment and worse.”

“Mr. Malaya can quibble all he wants, but the practice has been documented by the UN [United Nations] Human Rights Office, the Commission on Human Rights, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, Karapatan, and the Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates,” the group’s statement said.

Malaya’s statement on the practice comes as the NSC anticipates a discussion with UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion Irene Khan as she presents her initial report on February 2 regarding the state of freedom of opinion and expression in the Philippines.


But just a few weeks before Malaya made his remarks, the Presidential Task Force on Media Security Chief Paul Gutierrez accused detained Tacloban-based journalist Frenchie Mae Cumpio of being part of a communist rebel group.

READ: Media security chief gets flak for ‘red-tagging’

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Rights defenders and independent media organizations have called the accusations against Cumpio “trumped up” and have repeatedly urged the Department of Justice to junk the charges against her.

Meanwhile, during his visit in November last year, UN rapporteur Ian Fry acknowledged the impact of red-tagging on the safety of its victims.

Fry likewise appealed for the abolishment of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict due to the agency “operating beyond its mandate” – a statement that sparked criticism from various government security agencies.

TAGS: Jonathan Malaya, NUJP, red-tagging

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