Court rejects NTC plea on blocking Bulatlat website

BULATLAT.COM

A QUEZON City trial court has rejected a government appeal to set aside a ruling that unblocked Bulatlat.com’s news website.

In a resolution dated Oct. 10 and sent to reporters on Wednesday, the court said blocking the website violated its freedom of speech and of the press.

“As a result of the blocking, plaintiff is unquestionably deprived of its constitutional right to freedom of speech and of the press, which in and of itself constitutes irreparable damage,” Associate Justice Dolly Rose R. Bolante-Prade said in the order.

The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), which had ordered internet service providers to block the site given its alleged communist links, had appealed the trial court ruling.

The court in August favored the news website by unblocking its site.

“Amid the recent attacks on Philippine media, this initial victory is a reaffirmation that journalism is vital in a democracy,” Bulatlat tweeted.

In June, the NTC issued an order to block 26 websites that it claimed had links to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), New People’s Army (NPA) and National Democratic Front. Bulatlat sued the telecommunication regulator a month later and sought an injunction against its order.

The country’s Anti-Terrorism Council has labeled the communist party as a terrorist group, but a Manila trial court recently issued a ruling recognizing the group as a legitimate political movement. — John Victor D. Ordoñez