Politics

Bulatlat says NTC order blocking website is illegal

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SCREENGRAB OF BULATLAT FACEBOOK PAGE

NEWS website Bulatlat.com on Monday said a government order to block 26 websites allegedly linked to communist and terrorist organizations violated its right to due process and freedom of the press.

The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) failed to hear and determine questions of fact when it ordered local internet service providers to block the sites, Bulatlat said in an 11-page memorandum submitted to a Quezon City trial court.

Last week, the trial court denied Bulatlat’s plea to stop the telecommunication regulator from blocking its website after it found that it could still be accessed by its readers.

Bulatlat.com can still be accessed using a virtual private network (VPN).

Last month, the country’s telecommunication regulator issued an order to block 26 websites supposedly “affiliated to and are supporting” the Communist Party of the Philippines, New People’s Army and the National Democratic Front. The directive was issued upon the request of former National Security Adviser Hermogenes C. Esperon, Jr.

The Anti-Terrorism Council has labeled these as terrorist groups.

Global rights watchdog Human Rights Watch earlier called on civil society and the international community to “publicly condemn this latest attempt to suppress freedom of expression in the Philippines.” — John Victor D. Ordoñez