CEGP Statement: On Jiggy Manicad’s claim on press freedom

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In a television interview, Monday, former broadcast journalist and senatorial bet Jiggy Manicad claimed that the government’s case against Rappler has “no chilling effect” on the country’s media freedom, and described it rather a political attack than an assault to press freedom.

Manicad, who runs under Sarah Duterte’s Hugpong ng Pagbabago, might find it too convenient to categorize the case against Rappler as isolated among the almost a hundred cases of press freedom violations under the Duterte presidency.

Last year, Rappler’s license was revoked by the Securities and Exchange Commission after it accused the online media outfit operating under constitutional violation of its alleged foreign ownership.

But Rappler was not the only media entity to have experienced state-directed actions. In 2017, owners of Philippine Daily Inquirer were pursued with legal charges from the government. President Rodrigo Duterte also threatened to block ABS-CBN’s broadcast franchise renewal.

It is easy to shrug off the deleterious state of press freedom under a tyrannical rule for the sake of enriching power and personal interests, even at the expense of the toiling Filipino people.

At least 12 media killings, six cases of intimidation, seven attempted murders, and three arrests were part of 99 documented cases of press freedom violations under the Duterte regime as per Freedom for Media, Freedom for All Network.

If senator-wannabe Jiggy Manicad must know, tyrants and those who opt to side with them can never silence the alagad ng midya. The Philippine press has fearlessly exposed the ills of the society and will unceasingly do so under the fascist and corrupt Duterte regime.

After all, we no longer need an additional senator in the government who will ultimately and effectively serve the status quo.

Now more than ever, journalists, including members of the campus press, should stand united against continuing state harassment of the Duterte administration against our ranks.

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