Nene: Press freedom should not be curtailed
Emmanuel Tupas (The Philippine Star) - January 21, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Former senator Aquilino Pimentel Jr. called for support for the rights of multimedia news group Rappler.

Pimentel said the rights of the news organization to speak and write about pressing issues should not be curtailed.

But Rappler, Pimentel said, should be held accountable if it committed violations under the law.

“They can be sanctioned but their freedom to express and write about things will continue, whether or not recognized by the government,”

Pimentel said when sought for comment on the controversy surrounding the revocation of Rappler’s corporate registration by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

The SEC cancelled Rappler’s license, accusing it of trying to circumvent the constitutional provisions on foreign ownership.

For Pimentel, it is important that a free press is maintained in the country.

“The freedom of the press should not be stopped by anyone,” he said.

In Bacolod City, some 50 journalists gathered last Friday to accuse the government of media crackdown in the closure order against Rappler.

Inday Espina-Varona, convenor of the Let’s Organize for Democracy and Integrity, said the government is trying to silence the media by changing the Constitution to deprive the people of basic human rights.

Marche Espina, National Union of Journalists of the Philippines-Bacolod chair, said the ongoing attacks on media are diverting the public from the real issues, like Charter change and tax reform.

Espina called on colleagues in the media to remain steadfast and to stand together to defend press freedom.

“After all, it is our duty to remain as watchdogs and not as lapdogs…We will not be intimidated. We will not be silenced,” she said. – With Gilbert Bayoran

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