No to AFP terror plot on press freedom! sign now

NO TO AFP TERROR PLOT ON PRESS FREEDOM!

AFP vice chief-of-staff Gen. Edilberto Adan has recently proposed an idea that is so dangerous and poisonous to our rights to free speech and free expression. He said that media should not interview "enemies of the state" and went on to name some of the groups.

That's a mouthful for an AFP that is riddled by corruption scandals, known for monumental ineptitude, unapologetic in its human rights violations and unashamed of its own acts of abuse and terrorism.

We are totally against this proposal that is essentially a reimposed martial law.

The AFP or any government agency, not even the President, has no right to pre-determine which type of information the people should receive and impart from among ourselves. It has no right to censor the media or, in other words, tell media what to report and what not to report. The AFP has no right to seek a stranglehold on the media.

Indeed, the AFP proposal will hamper the people's right to information, free speech, free press and eventually the right to redress of grievance.

Moreover, the AFP has a weird notion of "enemies of the state". The military always considers as "enemies" any and all forms of dissent and opposition, and lumps them together with so-called terrorists and dissidents. Critics of military corruption and military connivance with criminal syndicates, bandits and terrorists may be deemed "enemies of the state".

More importantly, at a time when the current administration is the target of growing legitimate protests due to its brazen corruption, mismanagement, bankruptcy and the inability to unite the people, could be aimed at restoring barefaced suppression of our most essential rights that enable us to responsibly and democratically institute changes in the people's favor, correct wrongdoings and punish wrongdoers.

An AFP renewing its clampdown on media is the last thing the Philippine press needs today, when the country has become the worst place for journalists, second only to Iraq. A fiat by the military against interviews with the latter's enemies would only be a license to silence more journalists who would commit the "crime" of "interviewing terrorists".

Indeed, clamping down on media is terrorism in itself. It victimizes the entire civilian population just to satisfy the whims and caprices of the military establishment.

Fighting all attempts to muzzle the Press and the people is our commitment to the many anti-fascist sacrifices of countless Filipino journalists and the Filipino people especially against the fascist Marcos dictatorship.

We enjoin the members of the Press and the people to stand up and fight this AFP terror plot on press freedom now.

Alumni of the College Editors Guild of the Philippines
March 7, 2005

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Laurel LoweryBy:
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The Filipino people

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