MPP Statement on Press Freedom

In the wake of the conviction of Maria Ressa and Rey Santos Jr. for “cyber libel” which follows the surreptitious passage of the anti-terrorism law and the shutting down of one of the largest media networks in the country, we, the Manunuri ng Pelikulang Pilipino, enjoin all cultural workers and artists to resist the latest of the state’s oppressive and insidious efforts to curtail our hard won freedom, political rights, and civil liberties. We affirm the constitution that says no law shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech, of expression, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances.

At the height of this pandemic crisis, the government has demonstrated not only its inefficiency in helping its constituents, but its lack of sensitivity to public opinion and respect for democratic consultation, passing controversial bills and taking action against media institutions and personalities at a time when people are not allowed to attend public meetings or assemblies.

We are one with Maria Ressa and Rey Santos Jr. of Rappler and the many journalists silenced or brutally killed for doing their job of upholding the truth and exposing the abuses of those in power. Likewise, we are one against the weaponization of the law to suit the interests of the public officials who cannot brook legitimate and constructive criticism. We condemn this failure of justice which strikes at the heart of our democracy.

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