Filipino journalist harassed on social media

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins its affiliate the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) in condemning the harassment of a respected Filipino journalist. The IFJ and NUJP demand the country’s authorities investigate the incident and take action against those responsible.

On September 18, a meme about mutli-award winning journalist and former national chairperson of the NUJP, Inday Espina-Varona was published on social media accusing her of being a “communist rebel asset”. The meme and accusation was published after Varona published reports decrying the September 1 murder of lumad (indigenious people) leaders in Surigao del Sur, in the southern Philippines by suspected military-backed militias.

Inday Espina-Varona is a well-respected and multi-award winning journalist in the Philippines. She served as the national chairperson of the NUJP and is the former editor-in-chief of the Philippines Graphic magazine. In 2007, she was awarded the Marshall McLuhan fellowship, which is given for outstanding qualities in the field of investigative journalism. In 2006, she was awarded the Knight fellowship at Stanford University.

In a statement, NUJP chairperson Rowena Paraan said: “The NUJP is also alarmed of the red-tagging against Varona, a tactic that has been used against activists and political dissenters, many of whom were subsequently targeted in summary killings, abduction and persecution through the filing of trumped-up criminal charges. It indicates that almost 30 years after the fall of the Marcos dictatorship, the martial law mentality continues to prevail, even under a supposedly “Daang Matuwid” administration. We demand that authorities investigate and apprehend those behind these attempts to intimidate Varona and other journalists exposing human rights violations and other injustices.”

The IFJ said: “We join NUJP in deploring the harassment and intimidation of Inday Espina-Varona. Across the Philippines, journalists continue to be threatened, intimidated and attacked for simply doing their job. We join the NUJP in calling on the government to take immediate action and secure the safety of the country’s media.” 

For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +61 2 9333 0946 

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 134 countries

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