Media censorship, suppression of basic freedoms, prelude to fascist tyranny under Marcos II

This article is available in Pilipino

The National Democratic Front-Eastern Visayas today said Marcos II unmasks himself as a fascist tyrant early in his term, referring to the string of media censorship and suppression of basic freedoms prior to and during his installation to power.

Building up to Marcos Junior’s inauguration as the 17th US-installed president of the Manila government, the National Telecommunications Commission ordered to shut down the Philippine Revolution Web Central (PRWC) along with independent news agencies aand progressive organizations like Bulatlat, Rural Missionaries of the Philippines (RMP), and Save Our Schools (SOS) Network. A handiwork of Hermogenes Esperon and his fascist fellows in the National Task Force-Elcac, this assault on press freedom forms part of the reactionary government’s red-tagging of legal democratic and progressive groups and media organizations as well as the terror-labelling of the Communist Party of the Philippines and its allied revolutionary organizations.

A day before the inauguration, the Securities and Exchange Commission ordered the closure of Rappler known to be a staunch critic of the Dutertes and the Marcoses. By playing up technicalities on the outfit’s franchise ownership, the new Marcos regime welcomed the Filipino people with brazen exercise of power to suppress alternative views, stifle critical discourse, and wield the law against the political opposition.

On the day of his inauguration, June 30, Marcos Junior denied the people of their fundamental right to express grievances and peaceably assemble online and offline through overkill police deployment, arrest of activists, restriction of mobility, and mobilization of pro-Marcos instigators to subvert and sabotage street demonstrations.

Fr. Santiago “Ka Sanny” Salas, NDF-EV spokesperson, said these attempts are not only a throwback to martial law, but also a snapshot of fascism under the new Marcos era. Reminiscent to his father’s martial rule, he is trampling upon free speech and media freedom and attacking organized forces of the opposition to lay the groundwork for a fascist dictatorship.

Fr. Salas explained that the website and social media accounts of the CPP are a platform for revolutionary organizations to express their positions on pertinent regional and national issues as well as expose military atrocities in the barrios often unreached by media attention. By closing down PRWC, Marcos Junior lays bare his rabid anticommunism stance and active collaboration with armed apparatuses of the reactionary state.

Bulatlat, RMP, and SOS Network along with other online platforms and people-oriented organizations effectively articulate issues and concerns of the rural poor, the indigenous peoples, and other disenfranchised sectors which could hardly avail airtime in mainstream outfits. By red-tagging them and shutting down their online spaces, the reactionary government attempts to mute people’s voices, censor discussions on their issues, and whip up anti-communist hysteria as pretext for the imposition of fascist dictatorship.

Fr. Salas said the unrepentant Marcos Junior mouths slogans of “national unity” and his sickening line of “moving on” from his family’s fascist crimes and plunder of national wealth while doing exactly the recipes of dictatorship of Marcos Senior through media censorship such as that of Rappler and the criminalization of dissenters as what happened on his inauguration.

“The worst is yet to come for press freedom and our democratic values. The Marcos family – whose restoration to power is hugely indebted to paid hacks and trolls, survey manipulation, massive disinformation, and systematic historical revisionism – is expected to perpetuate an information ecosystem of lies, deceit, and psychological warfare as part of consolidating their grab of absolute power. Marcos Junior has early on designated his father’s cronies to key positions in the bureaucracy, facilitated the power sharing among the ruling clique, and trespassed democratic checks-and-balances as concretized by the supermajority in Congress and the unanimous vote of Supreme Court justices in favor of his power grab.

On the other hand, many are drawn to the parliamentary of the streets and armed resistance owing to the narrowing spaces for dissent among legal-bourgeoise institutions. By attacking truth gatekeepers and freedom fighters, Marcos Junior unwittingly exposes the rottenness of the semicolonial semifeudal ruling system and leaves the people with no other recourse but to persistently fight the impending dictatorship,” Fr. Salas ended.

Media censorship, suppression of basic freedoms, prelude to fascist tyranny under Marcos II