HRW raises alarm over red-tagging of journalists in SMNI show

HRW raises alarm over red-tagging of journalists in SMNI show
Photo shows former PCOO Undersecretary Lorraine Badoy speaking in a program aired over SMNI News.
Philstar.com Screengrab / SMNI News on YouTube

MANILA, Philippines — Human Rights Watch aired “deep concern” on Friday over the red-tagging of several journalists on an episode of a show aired over SMNI last World Press Freedom Day.

HRW senior researcher Carlos Conde said that while the red-tagging of the SMNI show’s hosts was “nothing new,” they were still “alarmed by the recklessness” of the broadcast.

“As we all know, red-tagging is not just simple harassment – it is meant to put the red-tagged in harm’s way. Many red-tagged activists have been victims of extrajudicial executions,” Conde said in a statement.

Among the journalists that were red-tagged in the show was Jonathan de Santos, news section head of Philstar.com and national chairperson of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines.

On Twitter, De Santos dismissed the accusations as having come from “jokers.”

Philstar.com was likewise red-tagged for its reporting on the Communist Party of the Philippines’ confirmation of the deaths of its top leaders Benito and Wilma Tiamzon, and the deportation and arrest of alleged top New People’s Army leader Eric Jun Casilao.

Former Philippine Daily Inquirer correspondent Nestor Burgos Jr., leaders of the NUJP, other activists and non-government groups as members and fronts of the CPP and its armed wing, the NPA.

The US State Department said in its latest report on the human rights situation in the Philippines that red-tagging persisted under the administration of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., whose stance is unclear on the practice which is deemed to have a chilling effect on civil society. — Xave Gregorio

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