FREE PRESS: THE MOST DANGEROUS FOE OF TYRANNY

FREE PRESS: THE MOST DANGEROUS FOE OF TYRANNY

STATEMENT OF THE FIL-AM PRESS CLUB OF NEW YORK

The Filipino-American Press Club of New York (FAPCNY), together with other organizations committed to freedom of speech and the press, stand in solidarity with the journalists and employees of ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corp. and ABS-CBN International’s The Filipino Channel.

As a community of working Fil-Am journalists and communication professionals in the New York Tri-State, FAPCNY is calling on the Philippine Government to respect the role of a free press in creating a sustainable democracy and prosperous society.  We urge Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and his political allies to renew the franchise of ABS-CBN, for no other reason other than, it’s the right thing to do.

Over the years, ABS-CBN’s News has played an important role in bringing news to Filipinos around the world, empowering them to make informed decisions. This must continue.

ABS-CBN News has given voice to Filipinos by enabling conversations on relevant issues, holding those in power to account. This must continue.

ABS-CBN’S entertainment programs on the other hand, continue to provide Filipinos around the world an emotional connection to their homeland. This must continue.

Through the years, the network has also been an avid supporter and promoter of homegrown Filipino talent; providing platforms such as talent shows celebrating our countrymen’s love for music, and for creating original Filipino music. This must continue.

While it is not a perfect organization, ABS-CBN has assured the public that it will strive to maintain the highest level of integrity in the conduct of its work. We believe them.  And we also believe shutting down the network for its perceived imperfections is not the ultimate solution.

An attack on ABS-CBN is an assault on all of us who believe in freedom and democracy.

It is also an attack on history – ABS-CBN brought Television to the Philippines at a time when the only other country that had the capability to broadcast entertainment and news in Asia was Japan. 

Filipinos across the globe, including those of us in America, are enjoying news and entertainment because of ABS-CBN’s 65 years of service to the Filipino. 

We are calling on the Philippine Congress and the Philippine President to allow ABS-CBN to continue their service to the Filipino people wherever they may be. 

Winston Churchill once said, “A free press is the unsleeping guardian of every other right that free men prize; it is the most dangerous foe of any tyranny.”

We the People,

The working journalists and media professionals of

The Fil-Am Press Club of New York

 Disclosure: FAPCNY is a press club whose members are comprised of community media professionals and is currently headed by Don Tagala as President and Chairman of the Board. He is a multi-awarded video journalist employed by ABS-CBN International’s North America News Bureau.

We stand with Maria Ressa; We stand for press freedom

We stand with Maria Ressa; We stand for press freedom


FAPCNY Statement on the Arrest of Rappler’s Maria Ressa

The Filipino American Press Club of New York strongly condemns the arrest of Filipino journalist Maria Ressa by members of the Philippines’ National Bureau of Investigation on February 13.

Ressa, founder and CEO of the online publication Rappler, was charged with a cyber libel case for a story published in May 2012. Ressa was released upon posting bail and after spending a night in jail.

We view her arrest as nothing more than an attempt by the current Duterte administration to intimidate independent media that are critical of this government’s brutality, abuses and misinformation. We can cite at least two reasons why we believe that this arrest was merely an attempt by the Duterte government to silence Ressa and many other journalists who continue to speak truth to power.

First, the cybercrime law that was the basis of the libel charge against Ressa was enacted months after the supposed violation. The story in question was posted in May 2012. The law took effect four months later– in September of the same year. One does not have to be a lawyer to know that a person cannot be charged with a crime that was not yet in existence.

Second, Ressa and Rappler have been critical of the Duterte administration, especially its supposed War on Drugs. An estimated 27,000 Filipinos, mostly poor people, have fallen victim to these extrajudicial killings, according to the chairman of the Philippine Commission on Human Rights. By arresting Ressa, the Duterte government has demonstrated that it cannot and will not tolerate legitimate dissent and an independent press.

We believe that a free press is vital to the full functioning of democratic systems – it serves to keep the people informed by providing them with timely and accurate information and by exposing lies and misinformation. This is the way that the press can help the people make informed decisions and be better citizens and participants in society.

A critical press also serves as a counter-balance against those who wield economic and political power, and as a watchdog against abuse of power.

The Filipino American Press Club of New York stands with Maria Ressa and all our media colleagues in the Philippines in holding this President and his administration accountable to the people. We join fellow journalists all over the world in condemning this brazen effort by the Duterte government to shut down press freedom in the Philippines.

We call on freedom-loving Filipinos to stand side by side with beleaguered journalists in the Philippines who continue to hold the line in defending freedom of the press and expression.


FAPCNY Statements

A Pooled Editorial: We call for Net Neutrality protection

by the Fil-Am Press Club of New York
December 21, 2017

 

We, the Fil-Am Press Club of New York, oppose the recent repeal of Net Neutrality regulations by the Federal Communications Commission.

Net Neutrality allows for a truly dynamic and equal access and sharing of information in the Internet, whether it is created by big or small websites, regardless of political, racial, or economic backgrounds. We have to maintain Net Neutrality. It is press freedom and democracy at its best.

The accessibility of the Internet is one of the biggest achievements in digital technology whereby small- and medium-sized websites operated by artists, bloggers, media and community organizations, and entrepreneurs have the equal chance to thrive vis-à-vis the existing giant business corporations.

We cannot support this move by the FCC which allows big corporatist interests of regulating traffic or exacting fees, over those of ordinary citizens and the small websites that we represent.

An Affront to Thriving Community Press, Small Businesses, and Immigrant Communities

Smaller websites, such as those administered by some of us in the Fil-Am Press Club of New York, have relied on Net Neutrality to ensure our readers are not shut out from the benefits of a booming Internet age. Once given to the hands of large telecommunications companies to control traffic, economic, political, and cultural information becomes their prerogative.

Knowledge is power and by providing big businesses the capacity to limit access only to their favored websites, the FCC is heavily tilting itself to giant commercial corporations and stifling the small and medium-sized businesses as well as the general public’s curiosity, learning, and innovation.

Access to jobs, education and entertainment are the direct benefits of an open Internet. Young people will be disproportionately affected by the repeal of Net Neutrality. They will be living and working with the consequences of this decision for decades to come. Net Neutrality protects communities’ right to equal access to information and to essential services that are increasingly being provided online.

What is the value of Net Neutrality for Small and Big Businesses and Internet Users?

Net Neutrality ensures that all websites are treated equally. It prohibits broadband behemoths, such as Verizon, AT&T, and Comcast, from discriminating against smaller websites and dictating what consumers can have access to. In essence, it guarantees a level playing field and prevents service providers from abusing their market position.

The repeal of Net Neutrality now gives Internet services providers so much power, one of them the ability to steer traffic away from smaller websites. Tech companies and consumer advocacy groups fear this along with higher charges that will be slapped on to consumers.

Corporations insist they will not abuse their positions. But the question remains: Why did these broadband companies lobby so hard to eliminate Net Neutrality? It is impossible to believe these companies campaigned so hard against Net Neutrality if they will not make money from it.

One cannot ignore the conflict of interest between current Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai and Verizon, who was a strong advocate against Net Neutrality. From 2001 to 2003, Pai served as Verizon’s Associate General Counsel. For now, Pai and his Republican cohorts claim Net Neutrality has stifled innovation and investment, but records do not support this. If anything, Net Neutrality has worked to protect consumers from abuses by these service providers.

We urge the public to raise their voices in defense of net neutrality. It is the cornerstone of democracy and free speech in the Internet. It has to be maintained and protected all the time to ensure equal access to information and sharing of ideas and opinions.

Contact your local legislators and let your voices be heard.