FACEBOOK PAGE OF Amnesty International Nederland CALLS DUTERTE SUPPORTERS “TROLLS” — PROPAGATES A LIE
On the 24th of September, the Netherlands section of Amnesty International released a video warning the world of leaders who are a threat to “our freedom” (see: http://tinyurl.com/ycmmuuz9).
Someone sent to me the video. After watching it, I immediately issued a call to action here in my blog:
Then the posting of Amnesty International Nederland started to receive comments from Filipinos all over the world.
Perhaps surprised by the surge of the supporters of the administration, Amnesty International Nederland’s FB Page then issued this comment (see screenshot).
1. It called those who are commenting on its Page questioning its video “trolls”
2. That it was the Philippine government who gave the instruction
I just called Amnesty International-Nederland today. I asked to speak with someone about their FB posting. I was first connected to a guy named “Thijs.” We were first speaking in English.
I questioned him where did they get the idea that it was the Philippine government who issued the call to action to respond to their video. Then Thijs told me he wanted to speak Dutch. I told him I prefer to speak in English because even if I understand Dutch I prefer to have the conversation in English. Thijs was rude (even in Dutch blunt standards) and hang up the phone.
I then found the contact of Paul Helsloot, Head of Media and Political Affairs. I first tried to call him, but no one answered. Mr Helsloot then returned my call.
Just like with Thijs, I introduced myself as a columnist and a political blog writer. My conversation with Mr Helsloot had two main parts: first, I complained about the rudeness of Thijs; and second, I questioned him about the FB posting.
I asked him the same thing: Why did they say that the instruction came from the Philippine government?
Mr Helsloot told me that governments hiring “internet trolls” is “what is commonly happening…Who else would be instructing to write in support of their country?” He told me that based on their experience, embassies do that.
Then he told me that if I have information to the contrary, they would “rectify” it.
I then divulged to Mr Helsloot that it was me who issued the call to action. I sent him an email providing him the evidence that it was I who did that.
I told him that I issued that call to action as a Filipino citizen and support of the President.
Furthermore, it isn’t fair for Amnesty International-Nederland to dismiss those who responded to this call to action as trolls.
I told Mr Helsloot that I volunteered before in the Philippine section of Amnesty International and that’s where I learned the “call to action” tactics. Amnesty International started by asking people to write governments to free particular political prisoners. To make the process easy, Amnesty International provides an example of a letter, or even post cards that they could send to the government.
What is the difference between people responding to Amnesty International in a similar call to action?
Mr Helsloot told me this “…but you are not responding to the subject of our video that includes President Duterte.”
I told him why is it not responding to their video? Their video said that Duterte is a threat to our freedom. “Why are you, a Dutch person, telling me, a Filipino, that Duterte is a threat to my freedom? I am telling you that he’s not.”
Then Mr Helsloot told me that they documented human rights violations. I told him that there’s an awful lot of misinformation coming from the media.
Mr Helsloot then excused himself because he still had a meeting to attend.
Somewhere in our conversation, Mr Helsloot told me that FB comments in their official FB Page cannot be considered “official statements.”