ONLINE news site Bulatlat.com, which reports on human rights issues in the Philippines, continues to suffer from limited access by readers after a government order blocking 26 websites supposedly linked to communist and terrorist organizations, one of its officials told the court on Tuesday.
A Quezon City trial court earlier ruled that the website was still accessible to the public and that there was no suppression of free speech in effect.
Bulatlat Managing Editor Ronalyn V. Olea testified before the same court on Tuesday, saying that many of their readers are still having difficulty accessing the website, she told BusinessWorld in an email.
She noted that editors have to use virtual private networks to publish news articles and other content.
“Although we put up a mirror site courtesy of Qurium, search engines still point to our original Uniform Resource Locator (URL) Bulatlat.com, which makes it inconvenient for many to access our stories, especially archives on human rights issues,” Mr. Olea said.
“Partial access to our website does not diminish the fact that we are still censored in our own country.”
In June, the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) issued an order to block 26 websites supposedly “affiliated to and are supporting” the Communist Party of the Philippines, New People’s Army and the National Democratic Front.
The directive was issued upon the request of former National Security Adviser Hermogenes C. Esperon, Jr.
Bulatlat sued the NTC on July 8 and sought an injunction against the agency to stop the implementation of the order. — John Victor D. Ordoñez