HRW slams order to ban sites labeled as CPP-related

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MANILA, Philippines — Human Rights Watch (HRW) on Wednesday denounced an order by the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to block websites the government suspects are affiliated with or support the communist movement.

“The National Security Council’s blocking of civil society media and websites is another dimension of the government’s outrageous and abusive efforts to red-label and harass civil society actors, including journalists and activists. “said Phil Robertson, HRW’s deputy director for Asia. in a report.

“This is nothing less than a brazen attempt to undermine them and censor these media outlets and groups,” he said.

HRW is a New York-based international group that investigates rights abuses.

The NTC issued the order on June 8 at the request of NSC Director General Hermogenes Esperon Jr. It ordered internet service providers to block the website of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), its military wing, the New People’s Army, and the umbrella organization. National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) and 26 other sites allegedly linked to the Communists.

In response, the CPP said only seven websites were actually affiliated with the CPP and NDFP.

The six are cause-oriented local group websites, three for alternative news, two for progressive journalists and scholars, two for international organizations, two for international alternative news and a news blog, and one Indian activist blog.

Robertson pointed out that the government “has provided no solid evidence to support its claims that these groups are working with the Communists, let alone preparing to bear arms against the government.”

“Instead, the NSC falls back on vague, catch-all words, using descriptions like insurgent ‘affiliates’, to throw a blanket over these civil society groups,” he said.

Robertson urged the NTC to deny the NSC’s request.

“The CNT should ensure that freedom of the press and freedom of expression online are upheld and respected,” he said.

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