Media suppression ahead of Marcos’ inauguration

This article is available in PilipinoHiligaynon

Media suppression went into full swing on days leading to Ferdinand Marcos Jr’s inauguration to Malacañang. On June 29, the Securities and Exchange Commission upheld its 2018 decision to shutdown news site Rappler. Earlier, the National Task Force-Elcac ordered telecommunications companies to block 28 websites, including the website of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), National Democratic Front of the Philippines, alternative media and media and international organizations.

The successive closures to the flow of information on the internet is equal to a digital martial law. The CPP called it the “Marcos Anti-Democracy” (MAD) firewall which brazenly suppresses the people’s rights to a free press, as well as their right to express criticism on the reactionary state. Rappler’s closure is based on the allegation that the news site is foreign-funded.

The blocking of the 28 websites was ordered by Gen. Hermogenes Esperon, National Security Council former chief, on June 8 on the basis that these were “terroristic.” Esperon insisted that such blocking was in accordance with the decision of the Anti-Terrorism Council (ATC) to baselessly designate as “terrorists” the Party and its “supporters.” In reality, the MAD Firewall has nothing to do with terrorism.

The suppression was met with widespread condemnation and protests, including by the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines which anticipated the state’s use of the Anti-Terror Law to suppress all kinds of criticism. The group fears that Marcos will ban journalists on the traditional media (television, radio and print) to publish or broadcast anything critical about him and his family.

According to Ret. Justice Antonio Carpio, the government has no authority to block websites, even those which it deems “terroristic.”

Media suppression ahead of Marcos’ inauguration