Sunday, August 01, 2021

Police red-tags journalist anew

THE NATIONAL Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) has been alerted on a case of red-tagging by the La Trinidad police force.

The NUJP took note of the case of Northern Dispatch reporter, Khim Abalos, who was being identified by the La Trinidad Municipal Police Station to be with the New People’s Army.

In a Facebook post, the Municipal Police Station of La Trinidad, Benguet said: “BABALA MGA BESHY: Huwag magtiwala at magpaloko sa step 1, 2, 3 ni Khim Abalos!”

A graphic illustration was posted together with the caption explaining the steps: Step 1 as Arouse students’ anger towards the government; Step 2 as Organize rallies to expose potential student activists; and Step 3 as Mobilize students to join the NPA.

On the right side of the illustration is a photo of Abalos with a callout: “Beshy share ko sa inyo ang daily routine ko.”

In a statement, the newspaper said “Northern Dispatch takes the post of La Trinidad Municipal Police station maligning and associating our reporter, Khim Abalos, with the New People’s Army as an attack against our outfit and freedom of the press. This action is not only worthy of strong condemnation but also puts the professionalism and integrity of the La Trinidad Police force into question.”

Northern Dispatch added they will formally bring this matter to the attention of the local government of La Trinidad and with the Commission on Human Rights.

“We are ready to face the La Trinidad PNP (Philippine National Police) in the said offices or any legal avenue to prove their case,” the statement further reads.

The online news organization said as a law enforcement institution, “we would like to assume that members of PNP La Trinidad are aware of the principle that accusers bear the burden of providing proof. Thus, as professionals who were trained in the rule of law and the importance of material evidence, we demand that they provide concrete proof on their accusations against our staff that can hold in court. Without proof, the station should take down the post and issue a public apology.”

“Red-tagging, in whatever medium, is not a joking matter. It is a dangerous accusation that merits attention. This practice of state forces linking groups and individuals to the armed revolutionary movement endangers the life of those maliciously accused. Experiences prove that malicious accusations eventually escalate to harassment, trumped-up charges and including extra-judicial killings. Red-tagging also affects the professional and personal lives of individuals. It is an ordeal that takes a toll physically and mentally. Thus, those who execute such acts should be held accountable for the dangers and damages it inflicts to the victims,” the statement adds.


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