Friday, January 19, 2018

Statement: Bloggers For Freedom

.:My Pre(r)amble:.

I was still in high school back in 1999 when, in the middle of then-President Erap Estrada's term, one of the biggest thorns in his side, the Manila Times, ended up selling to the late Mark Jimenez, a close friend of Erap's, for what was essentially a steal.

The Manila Times then, like the Inquirer, then and now, definitely made some controversial choices when it came to how it chose to report on the then-President. That Erap's showbiz friends then launched an advertising boycott on both papers in hopes of teaching them a lesson, a lesson only Inquirer managed to survive, was a clear red flag that the Estrada administration would brook only so much dissent. Lucky for them, the internet was barely around at the time, and people were too busy talking showbiz and UAAP on Pinoy Exchange to really get into any meaningful form of political discourse online, especially with the absence of contemporary social media and the echo chamber platform it has ended up providing for everyone of any inclination.

Today, we see glimmers of that happening again. While the Inquirer purchase may not have been a move of desperation that the Manila Times sale was, the sudden revocation of Rappler's incorporation by the SEC is a glaring act of selective justice. And while I won't pretend to be the fount of legal expertise many of Rappler's detractors suddenly appear to be despite well over a year of pretending cops killing drug suspects without due process was anything but cold-blooded murder, it doesn't take a mind-reader to see when the fix is in.

When it happened to CJ Corona, a person most of us weary of GMA's machinations happened to be anything but fond of, not a small number of us on this list today opposed this political railroading on principle - even if we didn't like the guy.

When then-President Aquino used the Papal visit as an opportunity to take cheap shots at the media outlets that just wouldn't get off his back, not a small number of us on this list today clapped back, telling him to toughen up, because the President's job is thankless and only history can judge him.

So now that President Duterte has decided for himself that he will brook no dissent and that not using tanks and guns to take down his enemies is an act of benevolence in and by itself, are we supposed to suddenly make an exception for him?

Protecting the freedoms we have worked so hard to earn is not a partisan act. Defending our institutions and due process does not recognize party lines. All it does is acknowledge that as flawed as the system is, this is the system we are supposed to abide by. For without the system, if all we have is shortcuts and the word of a man who walks back his every other statement as a joke that only his cult of personality ever gets, what exactly are we putting our trust in?

This is the Philippines. It is my country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; if wrong, to be set right. Anything less, any complacency, any attempt at compromising one's core values, solely upon the altar of one man is a betrayal of both the self and the nation that we live in.

.:Statement: Bloggers For Freedom:.

We concerned Filipino bloggers stand for the rights to free expression and to free speech. And our first responsibility is to protect these rights.

We thus stand with Rappler, its right to exist, the rights of its working journalists and contributors, and the rights of its community of readers.

We stand against moves to silence and scare journalists, bloggers and media practitioners just because the President and his ardent supporters dislike their news and views.

Now is a time for making choices amid battles between truth and lies, debate and dissonance, democracy and dictatorship.

We sign our names here to tell everyone we have made a choice. We are bloggers for freedom.

Noemi Lardizabal-Dado
Tonyo Cruz
Dale Bacar
Marcelle Fabie
Myk Mykapalaran Cruz
Rod Magaru
Ely Valendez
Alex Lapa
Tess Termulo
Zena Bernardo
Jover Laurio
James Romer V. Velina
Ramon Nocon
Flow Galindez
Helga Weber
Mc Richard Viana Paglicawan
Raymond Palatino
Loi Landicho
Saul de Jesus
Karlo Mongaya
Ricky Rivera
Mark Will Mayo Magallanes
Eyriche Cortez
Julius Mariveles
Yusuf Ledesma
RJ Barrete
Dino Manrique
Peachy Tan
Rhadem Camlian Morados
Julius Rocas
Jon Limjap
Markku Seguerra
Jam Ancheta
Estan Cabigas
Enrico Dee
Acee Vitangcol
Stefan Punongbayan
Jesus Falcis
Hancel Reyes
Czarina Maye Noche
JM Mariano
Reginald Agsalon
John Clifford Sibayan
Jane Uymatiao
Johnn Mendoza
Carlos Celdran
Christian Melanie
Jann Medina
Carlo Arvisu
Inday Espina Varona
Eugene Alvin Villar
Melo Villareal
Brian Ong
JM Tuazon
Fritz Tentativa
Fitz Villafuerte
Tina Antonio
Mykel Andrada
Reynaldo Pagsolingan Jr.
Renz Daniel de Vera

Published on January 19, 2018, Black Friday.

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