The National Democratic Front-Eastern Visayas today said the Duterte government’s recent enlistment of the media in the region for “counterinsurgency” is symptomatic of the militarization and fascization of the government and civil society. “The Duterte regime wants to align the entire government and civil society with the military’s “counterinsurgency” campaign that is being condemned for massive human rights violations,” NDF-EV spokesperson Fr. Santiago “Ka Sanny” Salas noted.
“By inveigling the support of the region’s media in its dirty propaganda war, the Duterte regime aims to legitimize the deception and lies of psywar, the criminalization of dissent, and the silencing of the media. The so-called ‘whole-of-nation approach’ is nothing more than militarization and fascization, or the subordination of the entire government and society to the interests of the military, as well as the suppression of democratic rights.”NDF-EV spokesperson Fr. Santiago “Ka Sanny” Salas
Fr. Salas also noted the crisis of the media in the region that provides fertile ground for co-optation by the military and the government. “We know where the media in the region are coming from. The media establishments are owned or backed by big businessmen, landlords and politicians. Most media persons are poorly paid and not unionized to protect their rights. They are forced to toe the line or commit self-censorship for the high military and civilian officials and other big interests. Like the rest of the country, there is a history of violence against media persons here.”
He added however that inveigling the media is bound to backfire on the Duterte regime. “The united front behind the so-called ‘whole of nation approach’ is a sham. The Duterte regime is not monolithic; there are splits and disagreements within its own ranks. It is also increasingly isolated from the people because of its fascist terrorism, plundering ways and subservience to foreign interests. The people are increasingly agitated by socioeconomic hardships caused by Duterte’s neoliberal regime such as onerous taxes, rice importation, neglected basic services, rotten infrastructure, environmental destruction and other burning issues. The media can never unite behind Duterte because of concerns such as the Red-tagging and attacks on media organizations, disenfranchisement of critical media outfits, harassment and coercion of journalists, trolling and cyber attacks against government critics and alternative media outfits, and the rising death toll and unresolved search for justice such as for the Ampatuan Massacre.
“We challenge the media in the region to speak truth to power, to fight for press freedom along with other basic democratic rights, and to take the side of the people against the rising fascism of the Duterte regime. The media in the region should rage against the dying of the light of freedom of thought and expression. But even if the Duterte regime succeeds in stifling and controlling the media such as during the Marcos dictatorship, it will not last. The people will simply stop listening to the mainstream media if it chiefly delivers the Duterte regime’s hogwash. In the end, the people will turn to the alternative media on the internet and other forms of mass information including agitprop and revolutionary propaganda because they know these are the ones giving the real score.”#