Karapatan condemns attack on alternative media outfit, background check on journalists

Kodao Productions, an alternative news outlet, reported an attack on its website on Friday, February 2, 2018. Since its establishment in 2000, Kodao has covered issues related to indigenous peoples, peasant communities, and human rights violations in rural areas and urban centers. Kodao has extensively covered the peace process between the government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines.


“Such attacks enable government disinformation at a time when it is most crucial for the public to be informed of the facts on the ground and the perspective of those from the marginalized sectors. Kodao and other alternative media outlets such as Radyo ni Juan provide platforms for reports on issues that plague the poor and the oppressed, and their continuing struggle and resistance against efforts to silence them. Such issues often remain unreported, even distorted by corporate media and government propagandists to serve their self-serving interests,” said Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay.


Palabay added that “it is important to note that such platforms cater to voices often neglected by the government. Journalists in these platforms are human rights defenders themselves, as press freedom defenders and human rights advocates. Dissent and protest is inevitably a core part of alternative media, as it attempts to depict realities on the ground that officials and authorities would prefer to tune out. These are critical voices that should be part of the discourse, and attempts against it are tantamount to attempts at curtailing pro-people journalism and critical media.”


Palabay also raised the issue on reports of background checks done on journalists by no less than the Directorate for Intelligence office of the PNP. “Following attacks against alternative media and news platforms such as Rappler and Radio Veritas, efforts to constrict press freedom, evidenced by this string of repressive actions, indicates the government’s intolerance for the truth. After all, it is typical for despotic regimes to turn a blind eye and distract the public with false information when confronted with a mirror to reflect its horrid and monstrous face,” she noted.


“Karapatan is calling for individuals and organizations to support alternative media platforms. In the context of deliberate and unrestrained misinformation, with Malacañang’s mouthpieces even calling faking news as ‘necessary’, it is more incumbent to support platforms that will reflect the real situation on the ground. Karapatan calls for the immediate end to the attacks against journalists and platforms that advocate pro-people journalism,” ended Palabay.