The NATIONAL UNION OF JOURNALISTS OF THE PHILIPPINES strongly condemns the apparent attempt to silence and intimidate its former national chairperson Inday Espina-Varona through a Facebook page portraying her as a “propagandist” of communist rebels.

The meme accusing Varona of being a communist rebel “asset” (https://www.facebook.com/895347650525928/photos/a.935203763206983.1073741828.895347650525928/968888443171848/?type=1) is a cheap and desperate move to discredit a highly respected and multi-awarded journalist who has consistently fought for the rights of journalists and against unjust and oppressive acts on the marginalized.

Varona is a former editor-in-chief of the Philippines Graphic magazine and the 2007 awardee of the Marshall Mcluhan fellowship.

This move comes following Varona’s reports for ABS-CBN online news site and posts in social media decrying the September 1 killing of lumad (indigenous people) leaders in Surigao del Sur by suspected military-backed militias.

She has also reported and has been vocal on the misrepresentation of the Eastern Mindanao Command of the Armed Forces of the Philippines on the statement of United Nations Special Rapporteur for Internally Displaced Persons Chaloka Beyani regarding the evacuation of lumad from Davao del Norte and Bukidnon at the Haran sanctuary of the United Church of Christ of the Philippines in Davao City.

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.

Reference:
Rowena Paraan
Chairperson, NUJP
September 20, 2015

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