Philippine Media Statement on the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020

Illustration by Joseph Luigi Almuena / Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism

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 theMindanao 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 Chua
  16. Ian Nicolas Cigaral
  17. Alec Corpuz, PCP
  18. Cong B. Corrales, Mindanao Gold Star Daily
  19. Bea Cupin, Rappler
  20. Noemi Lardizabal Dado
  21. Camille Diola
  22. Jimmy Domingo, PCP
  23. Camille Elemia, Rappler
  24. Maria Elena Catajan
  25. Paterno Esmaquel, Rappler
  26. Marchel Espina
  27. Nonoy Espina, NUJP
  28. Sharlene Festin, PCP
  29. Chay Hofileña, Rappler
  30. Karol Ilagan, PCIJ
  31. Jodesz Gavilan, Rappler
  32. Miriam Grace Go, Rappler
  33. Xave Gregorio
  34. Kenneth Roland Guda, PCIJ
  35. Jules Guiang, Rappler
  36. Carljoe Javier, Pumapodcast
  37. LeAnne Jazul, Rappler
  38. Jee Jeronimo, Rappler
  39. Victor D. Kintanar, PCP
  40. Dwight De Leon, Rappler
  41. Marguerite de Leon, Rappler
  42. Raffy Lerma, PCP
  43. Ed Lingao
  44. Barnaby Lo
  45. Franco Luna
  46. Pauline Macaraeg, Rappler
  47. Bonz Magsambol, Rappler
  48. Prinz Magtulis
  49. Julius Mariveles, Digital News Exchange
  50. Bullit Marquez
  51. Manny Mogato
  52. John Nery, columnist, Philippine Daily Inquirer
  53. Bella Perez-Rubio
  54. Chris Quintana, PCP
  55. Pia Ranada, Rappler
  56. James Relativo
  57. Maria Ressa Rappler
  58. Jojo Riñoza, PCP
  59. Rick Rocamora, PCP
  60. Chery Salazar, PCIJ
  61. Mark Z. Saludes, PCP
  62. David Santos
  63. Basilio Sepe, PCP
  64. Fernando Sepe Jr., PCP
  65. Raisa Marielle Serafica, Rappler
  66. Floreen Simon, PCIJ
  67. Rambo Talabong, Rappler
  68. Maria Tan, PCP
  69. Cristina Gratia Tantengco, Pumapodcast
  70. Raffy Tima
  71. Sofia Tomacruz, Rappler
  72. Bernadette Uy, PCP
  73. Inday Espina Varona
  74. Chito dela Vega, Rappler
  75. Daniel Vicedo, PCP
  76. Pau Villanueva, PCP
  77. Patricia Lourdes Viray
  78. Sofia Virtudes, Rappler
  79. Marites Vitug, Rappler