The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines stands by our colleagues in Altermidya-People’s Alternative Media Network as they submit before the Commission on Human Rights complaints against government civil and security agencies and officials who have threatened and vilified them and their fundamental rights to freedom of the press and of expression, and the right to information of the audiences they serve.’

Among the complaints is one about the recent illegal confiscation by police in Pandi, Bulacan of thousands of copies of the newsmagazine Pinoy Weekly, which they maliciously tagged “subversive documents.”

For so long, the alternative media, whose roots date back to the courageous mosquito press that signalled the rebirth of the free press under the Marcos dictatorship, have, instead of being recognized for bringing to light the severely underreported realities on the fringes of society, been rewarded with suspicion, threats, even attacks by the powers-that-be.

But never have they, and media in general, come under worse attack than under the administration of Rodrigo Duterte, a president who has proven so vindictive, so loathe to criticism and dissent, he has let loose the full force of state power on news organizations he has found issue with.

And while he has never directly attacked the alternative media, those in government, particularly state security, have taken the presidential wrath against the free press as license to go after those who shine the light of truth on the inconvenient truths of Philippine society, as well as on those who suffer from injustice and inequity, and those who seek to change the way things are to how they believe they should be.

So much so that we have seen at least two community journalists arrested and slapped with obviously fraudulent charges in connection with their supposed involvement in the rebel movement. One of them, Frenchiemae Cumpio, remains in detention. And all over social media, including the official pages of police and military units, spearheaded, of course, by the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict, they, as have we, are openly accused, without proof, of being enemies of the state.

It is for this shared history of struggling for press freedom and for the invaluable work they do that we are proud to have our colleagues from Altermidya alongside us in the continuing struggle to resist those who would seek to silence open discourse in our society.

If there is one truth history has taught us, it is that tyrants come and go but the truth will remain.