Bloggers gear up for Black Friday protest, defend free expression and speech

Photo grabbed from the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines' Facebook page.

Some of the Philippines’ most prominent bloggers on Black Friday collectively declared support for embattled social news network Rappler and demanded an end to attacks on free expression.

In a statement released simultaneously online at 10:00 am, the group Bloggers for Freedom said that they “stand for the rights to free expression and to free speech” and that their “first responsibility is to protect these rights”.

“We thus stand with Rappler, its right to exist, the rights of its working journalists and contributors, and the rights of its community of readers,” said the bloggers’ statement.

They also denounced “moves to silence and scare journalists, bloggers and media practitioners just because the President and his ardent supporters dislike their news and views”.

Fifty nine bloggers from diverse backgrounds signed the statement. Among them are previous winners of the Philippine Blog Awards and personalities in the blogging scene.

Bloggers have not shied away from their civic duties as citizens. They have figured prominently in impeachment complaints against past presidents, in the protests against pork barrel, and the campaign against the cybercrime law. Bloggers have also been known for advocating causes like #StopLumadKillings,disaster-related actions #ReliefPH and #RescuePH , and #SavePhilippineSeas.

Initiators Noemi Lardizabal-Dado and Tonyo Cruz said the bloggers’ statement would also be read today at the Black Friday protest at 6:00 pm at the Boy Scout Circle in Quezon City. Led by the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines, bloggers, media practitioners, and artists will be joining the action.

Signatories to the statement include Loi Landicho of The Professional Heckler, Pinoy Ako Blog’s Jover Laurio, Helga Weber, lawyer Jesus Falcis, Jane Uymatiao, Dale Bacar, Rod Magaru, Ely Valendez, Marcelle Fabie, Global Voices’ Karlo Mongaya, former congressman Raymond Palatino, thought-leader Stefan Punongbayan; technology blogger Jam Ancheta, journalists Julius Mariveles and Inday Espina Varona, finance guru Fitz Villafuerte, professional photographer Fritz Tentativa, UP professor Mykel Andrada, tour guide Carlos Celdran, travel bloggers Estan Cabigas, Enrico Dee, Melo Villareal, Acee Vitangcol and Czarina Maye Noche; Eugene Alvin Villar, Julius Rocas, Jon Limjap, Markku Seguerra, Hancel Reyes, JM Mariano, JM Tuazon, Brian Ong, Flow Galindez, Jane Uymatiao, Johnn Mendoza, Reginald Agsalon, John Clifford Sibayan, Ramon Nocon, Mc Richard Viana Paglicawan, Saul de Jesus; Rhadem Camlian Morados, Yusuf Ledesma, Myk Mykapalaran Cruz, Tina Antonio, Renz Daniel de Vera, Alex Lapa, Tess Termulo, Zena Bernardo, James Romer V. Velina, Ricky Rivera, Mark Will Mayo Magallanes, Eyriche Cortez, RJ Barrete, Peachy Tan, Christian Melanie, Jann Medina, Carlo Arvisu, Reynaldo Pagsolingan Jr., and Dino Manrique.

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