On the listing of 3 media organizations as ‘front organizations’: Unconstitutional, dangerous
June 14, 2023

Altermidya Network denounces the unconstitutional, undemocratic, and dangerous resolution released by the Kalinga Provincial Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (PTF-ELCAC).

The resolution, which urges the local government to require permits for activities, comes with a list of 18 so-called Communist Party of the Philippines’ “sectoral front organizations” (SFOs). The list, prepared by the 50th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army, included three media organizations.

As shown by photos released by Department of Interior and Local Government provincial director Anthony Manolo Ballug, the list included Altermidya members Northern Dispatch and the College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP), along with the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP). This has the effect of preventing members of these media organizations from conducting their work as journalists and also puts them in grave danger from the military and the police.

The three media organizations are well-respected and award-winning institutions. The CEGP was established in 1931 and has produced hundreds of venerable journalists. The Northern Dispatch has been producing stories from the communities since 1989, while NUJP, founded by the late Tony Nieva, is known for advancing the rights and welfare of journalists in the country since 1986.

Even the 15 other organizations in the list are known legitimate organizations in Northern Luzon. Preventing them from continuing with their work without a court order is nothing less than undemocratic.

We urge the immediate junking of the Kalinga PTF-ELCAC Resolution No. 2023-04 as well as the 50th IB’s “List of SFOs”. We likewise ask the elected city and municipal officials of Kalinga to reject this dangerous resolution and list.

We will make sure that these attacks on press freedom and democracy are duly reported to the United Nations Office of the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Opinion and Expression, who is set to conduct in-country investigations early next year.

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