MANILA - Some alumni of the UP Los Baños Communication Arts program and the faculty of the Department of Humanities on Thursday criticized its alumnus, veteran broadcast journalist Jiggy Manicad's over his recent statement that press freedom was not suppressed in the country.
In a statement, the groups said they "strongly denounce" Manicad's statements.
"Manicad’s statements belie the state-led pressures exerted on national and local media entities and diminish the systematic harassment and violence against visiting journalists, broadcasters and publications in the country," they said.
"These statements betray the most indispensable principles of journalism and public communication and are inconsistent with the honored values of the AB Communication Arts program," it added.
The development comes after senate hopeful Manicad, in an interview with ONE News, said the government has basis when it filed criminal charges against news website Rappler.
"I think may basis yung gov’t to say that may foreign fund na pumasok sa Rappler, to be honest about it. And it’s a violation of the Constitution. Yun ang nakikitang punto ng pamahalaan," he said.
Manicad also questioned if Rappler is "politicized" and "telling the stories na objectively."
"What I’m saying is it’s a very specific case which I really do not have a basis to talk about. Kung papaano ba talaga nagsimula yung attack ng Rappler sa Presidente, ano yung perception ng Presidente prior to that attack and what article pushed the government to do an investigation and for us to find out that there was foreign fund na pumasok sa Rappler," he said.
Rappler, which published stories critical of the administration, is facing tax evasion and cyber libel charges.
A year ago, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) revoked Rappler's incorporation papers, citing its alleged violation of the constitutional restriction on foreign ownership of mass media.
Manicad also cited the United States, whose President Donald Trump also hit back at media.
"Kasi ang nangyayari sa US parang inaattack niya lahat ng media to silence, well, yung mga naga-attack sa kanya, ina-attack din niya in return. So ganun lang yan eh, parang yun yung nakikita ko," he said.
ABS-CBN News has reached out to Manicad for his comment but has yet to respond.