Eleven media groups and journalism institutions rallied behind independent news network AlterMidya amid red-tagging of an official of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC).
In a statement dated December 7, media groups called the red-tagging of the network “callous, dangerous, and evidence-less.”
At the third hearing of Senator Panfilo Lacson’s committee on red-tagging or red-baiting last December 1, NTF-ELCAC executive director, Allen Capuyan, accused AlterMidya and its member organizations as being part of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).
Capuyan presented slides during the hearing, listing several media organizations under the alternative media network as members of the CPP’s “propaganda machinery.”
“This is a baseless blanket statement: provided without proof, presented as an out-of-context infographic, fraught with deadly consequence. Red-tagging, especially without credible evidence of wrongdoing, is a devious form of disinformation,” its statement read.
The group said institutions that have been red-tagged were “systematically harassed or demonized” while individuals, especially women, “have been trolled, detained, assaulted, even killed.”
“The Altermidya network offers independent readings of national issues and events — which a functioning democracy should welcome as part of a healthy pluralism in the public discourse. It is admirably committed to reporting on corruption, human rights abuses, and environmental issues, as well as the plight of farmers and workers,” the group said.
“The network has done its journalism despite great risk, including death threats and a massive distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack. We therefore view this latest act of red-tagging with the utmost concern. It renders these community journalists even more vulnerable to abuse and violence, at the exact time we need more of their journalism,” it added.
AlterMidya Network is an alliance of community journalists, independent media outfits, community radio broadcasters, and grassroot film collectives in the Philippines.
The statement was jointly signed by the Asian Center for Journalism at the Ateneo de Manila University, Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility, Consortium on Democracy and Disinformation, Foundation for Media Alternatives, MindaNews, National Union of Journalists of the Philippines, Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, Philippine Press Institute, Rappler, University of the Philippines Department of Journalism, and VERA Files.