National Press Club president Paul M. Gutierrez (Contributed photo)

MANILA – The National Press Club of the Philippines (NPC), one of the country’s oldest and biggest organization of active members of the press, on Sunday denounced in the strongest possible term, the ongoing ‘flagging’ being made by Facebook and its ‘fact checkers’ on nearly all public platforms.

In a statement, NPC described the flagging not only as acts of harassment and intimidation and a brazen curtailment of civil liberties, particularly the right to freedom of information and expression but more importantly, an assault on the country’s sovereignty.

“It has been barely two days since April 19, when the NPC issued its statement criticizing Facebook and its ‘fact-checkers,’ Rappler Philippines and Vera Files, for their callousness in warning Philippine national security adviser, Secretary Hermogenes Esperon over his post involving the threat pose to our nation’s security by the communist terrorist groups,” NPC president Paul M. Gutierrez said.

The criticism by the NPC has received overwhelming support not only from the public but even among our peers and those in government.

He added that instead of being shamed to do what is right and responsible, Facebook has shown to all Filipinos that is the ‘Lord of the Realm of Social Media’ by flagging down and warning official public platforms such as the Philippine News Agency (PNA), our media colleague in the public sector,” Gutierrez added.

“This is dangerous and truly alarming. Increasingly, Facebook, on the proddings of its fact-checkers and other state enemies, such as the CTGs, is demonstrating its capacity to resort to the neo-fascist method of wholesale censorship— and of an entire country at that— unmindful that it is already trampling on the laws and the sovereignty of our Republic,” he said.

The NPC’s call for the responsible agencies of the government to discipline Facebook and its fact-checkers, particularly, Rappler and Vera Files, has become more urgent and compelling, Gutierrez added.

“In the meantime, we call on all NPC affiliates and all the responsible and patriotic elements in the media community, along with other patriotic organizations to unite in resisting and denouncing this common threat to our civil liberty and our democracy,” the statement read.

He urged not to allow foreign entities to dictate to Filipinos because it is clear fascism, not democracy.

“Let us not be cowed in exposing the abusive behavior of foreign-funded corporations who are now trying to impose their will on us, a sovereign people,” Gutierrez said. (PR)