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NUJP hits ‘cyber-vigilantism’ after PCIJ website attacks

/ 07:36 PM July 29, 2016

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) on Friday condemned what it called attacks on the website of the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ), which remains inaccessible as of posting time.

NUJP said the attacks were meant to curb freedom of expression, after the PCIJ reported on the government’s ongoing drive against illegal drugs. PCIJ executive director Malou Mangahas, said the attacks on www.pcij.org and www.pcij.org/blog happened following the publication of their reports on the Duterte administration’s war on drugs and the “Know Your Rights” advisories.

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“The timing and nature of the attacks suggest that those behind it are loathe to the open discussion and debate on the issue most currently affecting our national life, the rising death toll from the ongoing war on drugs, which has been marked by a spike in vigilante-style summary executions,” NUJP said in a statement.

“Regardless of where we all, as Filipinos, stand on the issue of the war on drugs, we should all be able to discuss the issue freely and without fear of being silenced, not only as a basic right enshrined in our Constitution but because it is an issue that, on so many different levels, affects us individually and as a people,” it added.

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NUJP said the condemnable attacks on the PCIJ website were the digital equivalent of vigilantism, adding that the move was meant to “silence those who do not share their views on this contentious issue.”

“It is, we might say, the cyber version of vigilantism, when victims are summarily deprived of life without due process, or of the scores of media killings whose intention are to silence critical voices and muzzle others through fear. Needless to say, all these are anathema to a democracy such as we claim to be,” it said.

The organization reiterated its opposition against extrajudicial killings and lawlessness, amid the rising death toll of suspected drug pushers in the administration’s relentless war on drugs.

“Brute force and legal shortcuts that endanger not only the guilty but, even more important, the innocent are never the way to solve our country’s ills,” NUJP said.

“We call on all our colleagues and the Filipino people to protest any and all attempts to stifle freedom of the press and of expression. And we demand that the government, through our law enforcement agencies, immediately get to the bottom of this blatant attack on press freedom and ensure the arrest, prosecution and conviction of the guilty,” it added.

As of Thursday, the Inquirer’s “Kill List” notes 467 drug-related deaths since May 10 or a day after Duterte won the elections. RAM
READ: THE KILL LIST

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TAGS: Attacks, cyber-vigilantism, National Union of Journalists of the Philippines, NUJP, PCIJ, Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, Website
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