Alternative media under siege

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Graphics by Kaye Pancho

WE DENOUNCE the recent cyberattacks on the news sites of Altermidya members Bulatlat, Kodao, and Pinoy Weekly. Their websites were evident targets of distributed denial of service or DDOS attacks, which made the websites inaccessible since December 26. The shutdown of these websites apparently happened after the news outfits posted articles about the Communist Party of the Philippines’ 50th anniversary.

Bulatlat’s webhost administrator reported that the deactivation was a result of a heavy traffic of infected malware to the site, which could likely be a coordinated attack against the three alternative online news sites.

We are alarmed at the direct attack against these outfits, which are among the most committed not just in truth-telling and reporting, but also in persevering against the state’s assault on press freedom and freedom of expression.

Just a week earlier, the presence of armed men in civilian clothes was reported outside the Erythrina building in Quezon City, which houses the office of Kodao Productions, as well as progressive organizations NUPL and Bayan.

It is in the defense of our right to free expression and press freedom that we condemn this contemptible assault. We cannot underscore enough the important role of the media in checking on the excesses of executive power and guarding of citizen rights — especially now against the clear threats of tyrannical rule.

Beyond Bulatlat, Kodao, and Pinoy Weekly, the deliberate attempts to suppress free speech and press freedom puts the rights and liberties of Filipinos under siege. In the context of a terror regime that the county is now under in, only an informed and empowered citizenry and free press can thwart the return of all-out authoritarian rule.

The attacks on the media will surely persist — similar to what the media endured under the Marcos regime. We call on the Philippine media community, both in alternative and mainstream, and the public to come together to defend the clear onslaught on the media, and on the democratic rights of Filipinos.

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