MANILA, Philippines – A group of Filipino bloggers on Friday, January 19, called on the public to “make choices amid battles between truth and lies,” in rallying behind the right to free expression and news organization Rappler, after the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued an order to revoke the license of the online news group.
Callling themselves “Bloggers for Freedom,” the 59 bloggers issued a manifesto of support on Friday, January 19, to signify their support for free speech in the country, and for Rappler, which is under threat of closure after publishing reports critical of the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte.
The bloggers issued the statement on the same day press freedom advocates were expected to troop to the Boy Scouts Circle in Quezon City for the "Black Friday Protest for Freedom" organized by the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines.
"We stand against moves to silence and scare journalists, bloggers and media practitioners just because the President and his ardent supporters dislike their news and views," they said.
"Now is a time for making choices amid battles between truth and lies, debate and dissonance, democracy and dictatorship," the bloggers added.
Rappler has been under attack not only by Duterte himself but also by pro-administration bloggers because of its reports critical of the administration, particularly those on the Duterte government's war on drugs.
Here is the Bloggers for Freedom's full statement:
We concerned Filipino bloggers stand for the rights to free expression and to free speech. And our first responsibility is to protect these rights.
We thus stand with Rappler, its right to exist, the rights of its working journalists and contributors, and the rights of its community of readers.
We stand against moves to silence and scare journalists, bloggers and media practitioners just because the President and his ardent supporters dislike their news and views.
Now is a time for making choices amid battles between truth and lies, debate and dissonance, democracy and dictatorship.
We sign our names here to tell everyone we have made a choice. We are bloggers for freedom.