MANILA, Philippines – The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) on Tuesday, March 6, slammed an expanded ban of Rappler by Malacañang, calling it “a new low point” in the President’s “by now well-documented pettiness.”
Going by the prohibition against Rappler reporter Pia Ranada at the Go Negosyo 10th Filipina Entrepreneurship Summit at the World Trade Center in Pasay City Tuesday, March 6, the ban on Rappler’s coverage of presidential engagements had been expanded to cover events outside the Palace, as well as those organized by the private sector.
People manning the media registration table at the event told Ranada she could not cover the event as she was not on the list of Malacañang Press Corps (MPC) members provided to organizers. Ranada later learned the Malacañang Accreditation and Relations Office (MARO) had disallowed her from covering Duterte’s events even outside the Palace.
The MPC last February declared: “Rappler will remain a member of the Malacañang Press Corps unless the Court of Appeals upholds the decision of the Securities and Exchange Commission revoking its registration.”
“While we respect the discretion of Malacañang to set accreditation rules for presidential events, we deplore any arbitrary attempt to bar access and harass reporters performing their duty as an independent monitor of power and guardian of public interest,” the MPC said then.
In a statement Tuesday, the NUJP said, “This show of vindictiveness is not just pathetically childish, more worrisome is it shows Duterte’s penchant for taking shortcuts in a case that is still pending before the courts. In short, it betrays his lack of respect for democratic institutions and processes.”
The NUJP added, “We see no need to urge Rappler and Ms Ranada to stand firm, for they have from the get-go. But we do reiterate our total support for them as they persist in carrying out their task of informing the public despite this government’s damnedest efforts to shut them down. We urge all independent journalists to close ranks and stand with Rappler in refusing to be silenced.”