Attacks on news sites meant to stifle criticism, dissent – NUJP

By SHERWIN DE VERA
www.nordis.net

BAGUIO CITY — The National Union of Journalist of the Philippines denounced the relentless cyber-attacks to disable online alternative news outfits Bulatlat and Kodao, saying it is “meant to stifle criticism and dissent.”

The alternative news website Bulatlat and Kodao have been the subject distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks to shut it down since December last year. A DDoS attack is an attempt to make an online service unavailable by overwhelming it with traffic from multiple sources.

NUJP said that alternative media are not the only target. “Mainstream news outfits have also come under attack in the past as have media organizations like the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines.”

“But the alternative media’s brand of coverage, which puts more focus on the basic, mainly marginalized, sectors of society and on issues such as human rights and social justice, has also found them openly accused by government and its security forces, of harboring sympathies or even being “legal fronts” of the rebel movement,” explained the group’s National Directorate.

The military tagged the NUJP, Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines and others as “enemies of the state” in a presentation shown in schools and communities around the country in 2005.

NUJP is also a victim of a systematic red-tagging campaign. Just last month, three tabloids ran stories linking the union to the Communist Party of the

“The free flow and exchange of ideas is essential to the democratic discourse. Any attempt to curtail this to enforce conformity of thought is anathema to our society,” said the statement.

The group called on the Philippine media community to condemn and unite against the attacks.

“Let us stand by our colleagues in the alternative media, whose work has contributed much to the vibrancy of the Philippine media today,” NUJP said. # nordis.net

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