The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines on Monday launched an online fundraising drive to help defend journalists and press freedom in the country.
The fundraising drive was called “Masked Media” and promoted through the hashtags #DefendYourRight2Know and #DefendPressFreedom.
In a statement last Sunday, September 20, NUJP explained that the organization hoped to raise funds to for the organization’s “defense fund for Filipino journalists.”
— NUJP (@nujp) September 20, 2020
The group invited the public to purchase face masks worth P150 through their Shopee and Lazada stores.
“Ang Masked Media ay isang fundraising project sa pamamagitan ng pagbebta ng nakalakip na mask. Ang pondo na malilikom ay mapupunta sa Defense Fund for Filipino Journalists,” the statement read.
“Join the Masked Media movement. Get your own mask for only PHP 150, all the proceeds will go the Defense Fund for Filipino Journalists,” it added.
The organization also attached its Metrobank account in case other Filipinos decided to make cash donations instead.
The NUJP officially launched the Masked Media campaign at an onsite rally in Quezon City in commemoration of the 48th anniversary of Martial Law.
In another statement, the organization likened the Duterte administration’s “renewed efforts” against the press to the dark martial law regime where late dictator Ferdinand Marcos shut down the free press for nearly 20 years.
[Statement] A free press for a free peopleOn this day 48 years ago, Ferdinand Marcos, then president of the Republic,…
“One of the first things the dictator did was to shut down the free press, replacing it with a crony press that churned out lies about the “New Society” and totally ignoring the atrocities committed by his regime against the people,” NUJP said.
“Today, we launch the “Masked Media” campaign, not just to remember that dark incident in our history but also to send out the message that today, we face the same renewed efforts by another government, one led by an unabashed fan of Marcos, to suppress freedom of the press and pervert the truth,” it added.
Last July, the country’s largest broadcaster ABS-CBN permanently signed off the air after majority of lawmakers denied the network’s application for a fresh franchise.
Some economists believed that it caused a rippling effect to the economy after thousands of workers across the country lost their jobs due to the permanent shutdown of ABS-CBN’s radio, television and digital businesses.
NUJP highlighted its commitment to defend press freedom and the public’s right for information.
“Today, we renew our commitment to defend press freedom by serving the people’s right to know. Let our vow be: A free press for a free people,” it said.
Several reporters, photographers and journalists joined the movement. Notable ones include GMA reporter Atom Araullo, photographer Ezra Acayan and veteran radio reporter Lourdes Escaros, among others.
"Se vouloir libre, c'est aussi vouloir les autres libres" (One may only taste freedom when others around us are free)
— Ezra Acayan (@eacayan) September 21, 2020
Today is the 48th anniversary of martial law in the Philippines. We learn the lessons of history and say #NeverAgain. Pag walang press freedom, mawawalan ka rin ng kalayaan para malaman ang katotohanan. #DefendPressFreedom #DefendYourRight2Know @nujp pic.twitter.com/BG6FGNx5Cu
— Atom Araullo (@atomaraullo) September 21, 2020
Join the Masked Media movement.
Get your mask for only PHP 150, proceeds will go to Defense Fund for Filipino Journalists.
Or you can donate :
— Lourdes Escaros (@LourdesEscaros) September 21, 2020
Rep. Sarah Elago (Kabataan Party-list), blogger Noemi Dado and former Supreme Court spokesperson Theodore Te also showed photos of them participating in the fundraiser.
SUPPORT #MASKEDMEDIA! Stop the attacks against free press ✊ Press freedom is vital to democracy. Critical and independent media is essential for reporting the truth and holding power to account!
— Sarah Elago (@sarahelago) September 21, 2020
I am part of the Masked Media movement. Apart from making a statement, we will also sell this mask to raise money for the defense fund of journalists starting today at Lazada and Shopee (link provided today by the @nujp ) . #DefendYourRight2Know #DefendPressFreedom. pic.twitter.com/luiZpET4mq
— Noemi L. Dado (@momblogger) September 21, 2020
— Theodore Te (@TedTe) September 21, 2020
Some Filipinos, meanwhile, urged others to watch free documentaries that tell the darkest period of contemporary Philippine history through a film festival called Daang Dokyu, an online platform that celebrates the last 100 years when the country started telling stories about Filipinos through film.
The Ateneo de Manila University and the University of the Philippines also conducted their own activities to help Filipinos brush up on history.