Monday, March 06, 2006

CPP lambasts Arroyo's fascist censorship through NTC circulars

March 5, 2006

CPP lambasts Arroyo's fascist censorship through NTC circulars

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) today lambasted as "fascist censorship" the latest memorandum circular issued last Friday as well as earlier guidelines issued earlier by the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to control news coverages and the airing of commentaries and public affairs programs in media.

CPP spokesperson Gregorio "Ka Roger" Rosal said the latest NTC circular shows that Gloria Arroyo's supposed lifting of Proclamation 1017 last Friday "was only in words, and not in deeds."

The new NTC circular orders broadcast companies "not to allow their facilities to be used for advocating the overthrow of government by force of violence, and not to allow the broadcast of material which tend to propose or incite treason, rebellion, sedition, or pose a clear and present danger to the state."

It also warned broadcast companies not to allow the airing of public affairs programs and commentaries that are "designed primarily to malign, unfairly criticize or attack a person, natural or juridical..."

Furthermore, the new circular disallows "anonymous sources" of news and applies stringent conditions if media wants to maintain the confidentiality of sources, especially if the sources are deemed "enemies of the government."

Prior to this, the NTC had earlier reissued memorandum circulars first issued during the 1989 coup d' etat against the government of Corazon Aquino and reissued in 2001 to warn broacast companies against giving air time to the Abu Sayyaf. Two radio stations were closed down in 1989 for violating the said circulars.

Rosal said the new as well as reiterated circulars issued by the NTC can be used by the Arroyo regime to "harass media practicioners and make it more difficult and risky to air the criticisms of the regime by anti-Arroyo forces as these may be deemed seditious or rebellious."

"Through these circulars, Arroyo has beefed up its arsenal of truth-suppressing instruments," added Rosal.

Rosal urged media establishments, publishers, editors, reporters, broadcasters, commentators, civil libertarian movements, democratic forces and the mass of the people to unite against these circulars of the NTC that serve to suppress media and the freedom of expression. "There is need to vigilantly defend the freedom of expression and civil liberties that the Arroyo regime is bent on curtailing in its desperation to perpetuate itself in power."

Marco Valbuena
Media Officer

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