By ALYSSA MAE CLARIN
MANILA — A Quezon City court granted the preliminary injunction plea of alternative media outfit Bulatlat against the blocking order of the National Telecommunication Commission.
In a decision dated today, August 11, Quezon City RTC Branch 306 Judge Dolly Rose Bolante-Prado granted Bulatlat’s petition for a preliminary injunction against NTC’s June 8 memo.
“To the Court, any limitation or restriction in the exercise of one’s right, no matter the extent, is a form of deprivation and clearly a violation of such right,” the decision stated.
The local court said the injunction will be issued only if Bulatlat posts a P100,000 bond. The decision said that the bond “will answer for the damages the defendants would suffer because of the injunction” if it turns out that the news outlet doesn’t deserve it.
The QC court earlier denied Bulatlat’s petition for a temporary restraining order on July 13, citing that there was “clearly no suppression of the constitutionally guaranteed right to free speech.” Since the plea for a TRO was not pursued, the court set a separate hearing that would determine if a writ of a preliminary injunction should be issued.
During a hearing on August 2, Bulatlat’s witnesses were able to prove violation of Bulatlat’s right to freedom of speech and of the press as well as the necessity of injunction because of the irreparable damages it had caused the media outfit.
In its affidavit, Bulatlat cited how the memo limited not only the audiences’ access to the website but also the access of the outfit’s own writers and contributors. Bulatlat’s readership also showed a dramatic decrease after blocking order.
Bulatlat welcomed the court’s decision and thanked Judge Bolante-Prado for upholding press freedom. The media outfit also thanked their lawyers from the National Union of People’s Lawyers and fellow journalists and readers who supported them against the state-sponsored censorship.
“It is indeed a collective win for the PH independent media. This decision reaffirms the power of solidarity and the righteousness of pushing back against all attempts at muzzling the press,” Bulatlat Managing Editor Ronalyn Olea said. (JJE)