Monday, February 27, 2006

CMFR's position on President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo's Declaration of a State of National Emergency

The Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility strongly opposes President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s declaration of a State of National Emergency and urges her to withdraw it.

The Center also condemns the suppression of democratic rights and liberties committed in its name. The government has announced that it will take over media outlets as necessary. This, together with the raid against The Daily Tribune and the arrest and questioning of columnist (Philippine Daily Inquirer) Randy David, together with 35 other civilians, signal the intent of government to limit the capacity of the press to further investigate and criticize government actions.

The Center warns against the veiled threat of General Order no. 5 against the media. This was followed by the not-so veiled threat of Philippine National Police Director Gen. Arturo Lomibao. He said that PNP would take over any media organization that would not follow “standards set by the government.”

These actions follow up the failure of this administration to take strong steps to stop violence against journalists and media practitioners who work in the community press. In 2005 alone, seven journalists had been killed and no one has been jailed for it.

President Corazon Aquino, who withstood seven coup attempts during her term, never had to close down a single newspaper. The press was left to cover the crises without government guidelines. The current attacks against the press are obviously needless, unless these fulfill a larger design to hold absolute unquestioned power.

Clearly, the actions of President Arroyo reflect her failure to understand and appreciate press freedom as a core value of Philippine society.

We call on all Filipinos to defend press freedom as their right as it is the only way they can get the information they need as citizens of a democracy. This right is protected and preserved by no less than the Philippine Constitution.

CMFR asks its allies around the world to express its solidarity with this cause and to protest most vigorously the current suppression of the free press in the Philippines.

No comments:

Blog directory