We strongly condemn the recent red-tagging and baseless accusations made against members of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) by Lorraine Badoy and Jeffrey Celis during their show “Laban Kasama ang Bayan” aired on Wednesday (3/5/23).
Red tagging is a malicious tactic of falsely labelling individuals or organisations as ‘communists’ or terrorist sympathisers without evidence, is a grave violation of human rights and poses a severe threat to the safety and well-being of journalists and media workers. The consequences of such fallacious accusations can be dire, leading to harassment, threats, and even violence against those targeted.
The NUJP, a reputable organisation composed of journalists and media practitioners, has long been at the forefront of defending press freedom and fighting for the rights of journalists in the Philippines. Their commitment to journalistic integrity, independence, and the pursuit of truth has been instrumental in upholding the principles of a vibrant democracy.
We stand in solidarity with NUJP Chairperson Jonathan de Santos, former Chairperson Nestor Burgos Jr., and the journalists of Philstar.com and Rappler unjustly accused during the program.
We unconditionally denounce any attempts to undermine their professional credibility and reputation through baseless claims of affiliation to so-called ‘communist’ organisations. These attacks not only jeopardise their personal safety but also undermine the vital role of a free press in fostering transparency, accountability, democracy and legitimacy of media as the 4th estate.
We call on the Philippine government to state clearly that the practice is not state policy, is unacceptable and violates freedom of association as well as other civil and political rights.
We further urge media organisations, civil society groups, and individuals within the ASEAN region to join us in condemning red tagging and supporting efforts to safeguard the rights and safety of journalists in the Philippines. The freedom of the press is a cornerstone of democracy, and we must collectively defend it.
Together, let us stand against the silencing of voices, protect the integrity of journalism, and work towards a society where press freedom is respected and journalists can carry out their crucial roles.
1. The Alliance of Independent Journalists/AJI (Indonesia).
2. National Union of Journalists of the Philippines/NUJP (Philippines).
3. Cambodian Journalists Alliance Association/CamboJA (Cambodia).
4. The Centre for Independent Journalism (Malaysia)
5. Gerakan Media Merdeka/GeramM (Malaysia)
6. Journalist Association Timor Leste/AJTL (Timor Leste).