'Win for press freedom': Bulatlat says website now accessible

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'Win for press freedom': Bulatlat says website now accessible
Bulatlat managing editor Ronalyn Olea and lawyers Minnie Lopez and Floyd Tiongson of the National Union of People's Lawyers speak to media in front of the Quezon City Regional Trial Court on July 8, 2022.

MANILA, Philippines — The website of Bulatlat is now accessible, the alternative news organization said Friday a day after it asked a court to cite the National Telecommunications Commission in contempt.

Bulatlat said it welcomes the “apparent unblocking” of its website following the filing of a petition for indirect contempt against the NTC after the regulatory body allegedly continued to implement its memorandum to block access to the website of the independent news outlet. This is despite the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction in favor of Bulatlat.

“This is an initial victory for press freedom and the people’s right to access credible sources of information,” Bulatlat said in a statement. 

“The unblocking is an affirmation that in fighting back, we can regain our hard won rights,” it added.

Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 306 issued on August 11 a writ of preliminary injunction. The court ordered the NTC to refrain from implementing its June 8 memorandum blocking access to Bulatlat’s website.

On August 15, Bulatlat posted the cash bond of P100,000, and the organization secured the Writ of Preliminary Injunction on August 16, which was served to the NTC on August 18.

However, Bulatlat said Thursday its website continued to be inaccessible to its subscribers using Globe, Converge, PLDT and Smart internet providers.

Former National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. earlier requested NTC to block access to more than 20 websites, including Bulatlat, for being “affiliated to and are supporting terrorists.”

The list included progressive organizations and independent media outlets that have long been subjected to red-tagging.

“We reiterate our demand for the NTC to nullify the June 8, 2022 memo as it is unconstitutional and arbitrary. Fighting terrorism should never be made an excuse for state-sponsored censorship,” Bulatlat said. — with report from Kristine Joy Patag

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