Philippines: IFJ affiliate accused in communist smear campaign

Propaganda posters found in Northern Mindanao on July 7, accused members of IFJ affiliate, the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) as being members of communists parties in the country. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and NUJP condemn the so-called “red-tagging” of journalists as a dangerous threat to journalist safety in the country.

One of the posters found in front of the church targeting NUJP and other human rights organizations. Source: NUJP.

The posters were found on Sunday, July 7, on the wall of of the Iglesia Filipina Independiente (IFI) church in Cagayan de Oro City, Northern Mindanao, listing NUJP along with the Union of Peoples’ Lawyers in Mindanao and Iglesia Filipina Independiente (IFI) church as being fronts of the Communist Party of the Philippines, the New People’s Army and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines. The posters were signed by the Movement Against Terrorism-Northern Mindanao Region.

This is not the first time NUJP has been targeted by rogue parties. Earlier this year, a black banner referring to NUJP and other activist groups as allies of the ‘terrorist NPA’ was found in Cagayan de Oro on May 27. And in February, Filipino journalist Cong Corrales, a former director of NUJP, and his family’s names were included on an anonymous list allegedly naming members of the Philippines Communist Party. 

NUJP said intimidation to silence journalists using “red-tagging” against individual journalists, organisations of journalists, and human rights activists has increased dramatically since Rodrigo Duterte’s rise to power. It condemned the act and reiterated that such action continues to put journalists’ lives at risk in the country.

A free press is guaranteed under the Philippines Constitution and journalists should not be painted as enemies of the state, NUJP said in a statement. The IFJ and NUJP call for greater efforts to stop the spread of lies and vilification of media workers.

NUJP said: As an organization, the NUJP has stood and continues to stand firmly for the safety and welfare of Filipino journalists and media worker as well as for practice of good, solid journalism.”

The IFJ said: “These continued attacks and false labelling of journalists puts journalist lives at risk. We demand authorities increase efforts to guarantee the safety of journalists in the Philippines.”

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The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 140 countries

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