Philippine Media Statement on the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020

The Supreme Court is hearing oral arguments on petitions against the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) of 2020. We, editors and reporters of news organizations around the Philippines, join the voices of various sectors opposing provisions of the law that trample upon fundamental freedoms, including the freedom of the press.

Section 9 of the ATA proscribes speech, proclamations, writings, emblems, and banners that fall under the new crime of “inciting to terrorism,” imposing a penalty of 12 years in prison. As the law fails to provide a clear definition of terrorism and is vague about what constitutes acts of terrorism, Section 9 could make media practitioners vulnerable to wrongful charges and arrests, producing  a  chilling effect on all media practice.

Government’s assurance that protection clauses are in place fly in the face of the experience of news organizations and journalists who have been red-tagged and branded as “terrorists” by government and security officials.  With the government’s anti-insurgency campaign causing a rise in killings of activists, we fear for the safety of our colleagues. 

We call on the government to uphold the freedom of the press. We demand that the rights and safety of journalists and media houses be respected and protected at all times. Many of us have seen how efforts to go after “enemies of the people” have led to zealous securitization of the government’s response to the problems of the country.

The ATA will not succeed in reducing the threat of terrorism with over-reaching prohibitions on expressive as well as political freedoms. It will reduce this country to a field of submissive and unquestioning individuals, to be herded like sheep by the police and the military. We reject the Anti-Terrorism Act!


Media Organizations

  1. Tess Bacalla for Asia Democracy Chronicles

  2. Felix Espinida Jr. for BicolExpress.Net

  3. Len Olea for Bulatlat

  4. Red Batario for the Center for Community Journalism and Development

  5. Melinda De Jesus for Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility

  6. Francis Allan Angelo for the Daily Guardian 

  7. Herbie Gomez for the Gold Star Daily

  8. Carolyn Arguillas for Mindanews

  9. Jonathan de Santos for the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP)

  10. Carmela Fonbuena for the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ)

  11. Ariel Sebellino for the Philippine Press Institute (PPI)

  12. Ezra Acayan for the Photojournalist’s Center of the Philippines (PCP)

  13. Glenda Gloria for Rappler 

  14. Bobby Labalan for Sorsogon Organization of News Writers, Announcers and Reporters (SONAR) and the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines-Sorsogon

  15. Lucia Tangi for the U.P. Department of Journalism

  16. Ellen Tordesillas for VERA Files

  17. Sol Juvida for Women Writers in Media

In their individual capacities: 

  1. Michelle Abad, Rappler

  2. Patricia Aquino, Pumapodcast

  3. Ana Corina Arceo, Rappler

  4. Jez Aznar

  5. Samantha Bagayas, Rappler

  6. Bernice Beltran, PCP

  7. Jairo Bolledo, Rappler

  8. Lian Buan, Rappler

  9. Kaye Cabal, Rappler

  10. Gaea Katreena Cabico

  11. Amalia Cabusao, PPI

  12. Gerg Cahiles

  13. Gerard Carreon, PCP

  14. Mara Cepeda, Rappler

  15. Adelle ChuaIan Nicolas Cigaral

  16. Alec Corpuz, PCP

  17. Cong B. Corrales, Mindanao Gold Star Daily

  18. Bea Cupin, Rappler

  19. Noemi Lardizabal Dado

  20. Camille Diola

  21. Jimmy Domingo, PCP

  22. Camille Elemia, Rappler

  23. Maria Elena Catajan 

  24. Paterno Esmaquel, Rappler

  25. Marchel Espina

  26. Nonoy Espina, NUJP

  27. Sharlene Festin, PCP

  28. Chay Hofileña, Rappler

  29. Karol Ilagan, PCIJ

  30. Jodesz Gavilan, Rappler

  31. Miriam Grace Go, Rappler

  32. Xave Gregorio

  33. Kenneth Roland Guda, PCIJ

  34. Jules Guiang, Rappler

  35. Carljoe Javier, Pumapodcast

  36. LeAnne Jazul, Rappler

  37. Jee Jeronimo, Rappler

  38. Victor D. Kintanar, PCP

  39. Dwight De Leon, Rappler

  40. Marguerite de Leon, Rappler

  41. Raffy Lerma, PCP

  42. Ed Lingao

  43. Barnaby Lo 

  44. Franco Luna

  45. Pauline Macaraeg, Rappler

  46. Bonz Magsambol, Rappler

  47. Prinz Magtulis

  48. Julius Mariveles, Digital News Exchange

  49. Bullit Marquez

  50. Manny Mogato

  51. John Nery, columnist, Philippine Daily Inquirer

  52. Bella Perez-Rubio

  53. Chris Quintana, PCP

  54. Pia Ranada, Rappler

  55. James Relativo

  56. Maria Ressa Rappler

  57. Jojo Riñoza, PCP

  58. Rick Rocamora, PCP

  59. Chery Salazar, PCIJ

  60. Mark Z. Saludes, PCP

  61. David Santos

  62. Basilio Sepe, PCP

  63. Fernando Sepe Jr., PCP

  64. Raisa Marielle Serafica, Rappler

  65. Floreen Simon, PCIJ

  66. Rambo Talabong, Rappler

  67. Maria Tan, PCP

  68. Cristina Gratia Tantengco, Pumapodcast

  69. Raffy Tima

  70. Sofia Tomacruz, Rappler

  71. Bernadette Uy, PCP

  72. Inday Espina Varona

  73. Chito dela Vega, Rappler

  74. Daniel Vicedo, PCP

  75. Pau Villanueva, PCP

  76. Patricia Lourdes Viray

  77. Sofia Virtudes, Rappler

  78. Marites Vitug, Rappler