Independent media outlet seeks TRO on NTC order blocking website

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 8) — Independent news outlet Bulatlat on Friday filed a complaint before a Quezon City court challenging the National Telecommunications Commission order that blocked its website and of other organizations allegedly linked to the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army-National Democratic Front.

Alipato Media Center, which manages Bulatlat, sought the issuance of a temporary restraining order and writ of preliminary injunction against the NTC memorandum issued June 8.

The complainant, represented by the National Union of People’s Lawyers, is also asking the court to nullify the NTC order and award them with P1.00 for damage.

Bulatlat maintained that it is not affiliated with the communist party.

“Plaintiff and any person serving in the editorial board as well as staff of are not in any way affiliated to and/or are supporting terrorists and terrorist organizations,” the 11-page complaint read. “As there is no factual or legal bases therefore, none of them is designated, much less being prosecuted for any of the prohibited acts under RA 11479 or the ‘Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020.’”

The NTC order was issued following National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon’s request to prohibit access to websites that are directly linked to the CPP-NPA-NDF.

Bulatlat also noted that the media organization is not designated by the Anti-Terror Council and blocking of a website is not sanctioned by the Anti-Terrorism Act.

“There is no danger, real, imminent, clear and/or present danger that would pass the standard of strict scrutiny to justify the blocking of access to the Plaintiff's website,” the complaint read.

“Besides, the NTC has no power, as stated above, to order the blocking of a website of an entity alleged to be ‘affiliated to’ or ‘supporting terrorists and terrorist organizations’ without judicial imprimatur.”