The Altermidya Network expresses support to our member-outfit Bulatlat in filing a petition today, July 8, to nullify the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) order blocking its news sites along with Pinoy Weekly, Arkibong Bayan, and 25 other websites.
The order is a result of a request by former National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon that called on the NTC to order internet service providers to block access to websites that he deemed affiliated with the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), which have been designated as “terrorists” under the Anti-Terrorism Act.
The NTC order is an overreach of its authority and displays government’s blatant disregard for due process. No notice or even a copy of the NTC order was given to the affected parties.
Moreover, the consequence of being designated as a “terrorist organization” under the Anti-Terrorism Act is the freezing the organization’s bank accounts. Nowhere in the said law has it been stated that government agencies can instantly block the websites of designated organizations—how much more those groups that are perceived as supporters?
Clearly, the NTC order is prior restraint and a violation of the people’s right to access information – a constitutional right that is the hallmark of any democracy.
Yet the demolishing of constitutional rights does not stop there. In a vibrant democracy, even beliefs, opinions, and writings of opposition groups – even revolutionary organizations – should be freely available to anyone who wants to access it.
The alternative media community expects the court will see these valid arguments and immediately nullify the baseless and patently illegal NTC order. We remain relentless in our call: