Filipino journalists, advocates commemorate #WorldPressFreedomDay

MANILA — Several media organizations, artists, digital rights advocates and human rights defenders remember #WorldPressFreedomDa­y tomorrow (May 3) with a rally, forum, press conference, film showing and a concert.

With the call to #FightBack, they stress the need to defend press freedom and free expression in these trying times.

Here is the list of activities:

9 a.m. – A forum on the State of Philippine Media will be held at B Hotel, Scout Rallos St., Quezon City. This is organized by Freedom for Media, Freedom for All, which includes the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines, Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility, Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism and Philippine Press Institute

10 a.m. – Members of Altermidya People’s Network will stage a protest action in front of Camp Aguinaldo to denounce the cyber attacks, red tagging, threats and harassment against journalists and human rights defenders

9 a.m. – 11 p.m. – There will be a free screening of “Portraits of the Mosquito Press,” a documentary by JL Burgos about the alternative press during the Marcos dictatorship. (See Portraits of the Mosquito Press Facebook page for details)

5:30 – 7 p.m. – Video for Change Impact Tool Kit will be launched at UP Cine Adarna Videotheque, organized by Engage Media, Dakila and Active Vista

6 p.m. – 10 p.m. – A Freedom Festival Jam will cap the celebration at Eton Centris Open Grounds.
Performances include Sining Obrero, Tubaw, Pasada, Musikang Bayan, Concerned Artists of the Philippines, Kilusan Stepsisters, The Bed Bites, Dating May and many more.

The attacks against the Philippine media have intensified with the arrest and charges against Rappler CEO Maria Ressa; cyber attacks against the alternative media outfits; red tagging of journalists; and the recent matrix released by Malacanang accusing journalists and lawyers of plotting the ouster of President Duterte.

Journalists have not taken these sitting down. Alternative media groups have filed a civil case against IT companies found to be behind the distributed denial of service attacks. Rappler has questioned the coverage ban imposed by Duterte. Media groups named in the so-called “Oust Duterte” matrix have exposed the lies.

In a situation where the government becomes an enabler of the culture of impunity, journalists and other freedom-loving people are expected to assert their basic rights on May 3 and beyond.

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