Cartoon by cartoonist Steve Pabalinas published in The Manila Times
The NUJP (National Union of Journalists of the Philippines) denounces in a statement that the cartoon in The Manila Times, published on 25 October, “brands” government critics and progressive groups as a target of the military and calls it “a disgrace to journalism“.
Statemen. A disgrace to journalismShame on the Manila Times for running an editorial cartoon that parrots the mindless red tagging by government of critics and dissenters.The cartoon, titled “The many faces of local communists,” shows a communist rebel apparently painting masks to be worn by figures labeled lawmakers, feminists, activists, educators, clergy, artists and, yes, journalists.We do not begrudge the Times its biases and the, undoubtedly, millions of reasons for this.But we do expect it, since it does claim to still be a news organization, to tackle issues with more depth than this cartoonish vilification of a large cross-section of Philippine society, sans context and, most important, evidence.Worst of all, by totally ignoring the most basic tenets of journalism, it has placed hundreds, nay, thousands, of Filipino lives in the crosshairs of government and its state forces.This, most of all, is its greatest disservice to the profession and to the Filipino people and nation.
The danger of being targeted as a “red” in the Philippines
For those who still believe that this is just another cartoon and an absurd controversy of no importance, it is advisable to move to the social context of the country where the message is being conveyed, which is not exactly to be taken as a joke.
Being marked as a “communist” in the Philippines can be a death sentence.
In 2018, the president, Rodrigo Duterte, threatened to create a “death squad” to kill communists. He later offered any citizen a $500 reward for each communist guerrilla killed, adding that this was cheaper than organising a military group to assassinate them. In other words, free reign for the population to legally kill for “presumed communism”.
Duterte pisses on Human Rights
He has spouted other barbarities (here is a video that compiles some of them) about shooting female guerrillas in the vagina so that they do not reproduce and other psychopathic nonsense, to the laughter of the audience.
He also encouraged the population to kill drug addicts:
“If you know any drug addicts, go and kill them yourself, as asking their parents to do so would be too painful”.
Duterte is a very dangerous man. Under the guise of fighting drug trafficking, he has turned the Philippines into a criminal state, and the Philippine police have been accused of falsifying evidence to justify illegal executions in the “war on drugs“.
Since Duterte came to power in 2016, he has flouted all international rights laws by unreservedly supporting a nationwide campaign to kill drug dealers and users while failing to investigate illegalities committed by the police and even claiming that he himself had killed people and would continue to do so.
Whenever he has been criticised by foreign NGOs, institutions and governments, Duterte has repeated himself without concern:
“I’m not interested in human rights, believe me”
Humour in trouble, a collection of cases (III)
Cases of cartoonists who have had problems of some importance because of their cartoons or satirical illustrations. There are also some stories of other people who, without being cartoonists, have got into trouble for sharing them.