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PCOO, PNA staff to undergo journalism training

The state-run Philippine News Agency will review its reportage procedures after being criticized for running stories with erroneous facts and photo. Screenshot from PNA

MANILA, Philippines — Officials and staff of the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO), Philippine News Agency (PNA) and the News and Information Bureau will undergo public information and journalism training following recent blunders of the state-run news agency.

A few weeks ago, PNA took down its website after some of its articles were published with what appeared to be notes from editors to writers.

PCOO Undersecretary Joel Sy Egco, who supervises the operations of PNA, said the blunders are "unacceptable and the criticisms are understandable."

READ: New PNA blunders amid editorial board under Andanar

After consultations with representatives of the media, the academe and former staff of the PNA, Sy Egco noted the need for drastic changes in the news agency.

"While the lack of personnel and the competence of the editors and staff need to be addressed, what remains fundamental is the organization and orientation of the PNA," Sy Egco said in a statement released Monday.

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The training for PNA personnel, scheduled in the next days and months, would enhance their writing and editing skills, as well as deepen their understanding of public information and editorial independence.

"As early as now, we acknowledge that adherence to public information and editorial independence includes openness to covering issues that may end up criticizing government policies and programs, even to the point of scrutinizing the decisions of the President and other senior government officials," he said.

READ: PNA 'improving protocols' after supposed cyberattack

The undersecretary reiterated that the "scandalous gaffes" of the state-run news agency should be addressed as the public continues its constructive criticisms.

"After reviewing its history and that of its precursor, the cooperatively-owned Philippine News Service, we now have a new vision for the PNA that reaffirms its roots in the media sector: A state-funded news agency that has editorial independence and exercises public information along the lines of the highest professional and ethical standards of journalism," Sy Egco said.

The National Bureau of Investigation is still looking into the supposed cyberattack in the PNA website. Details during the meeting between IT personnel of the PNA and the NBI are still confidential.

RELATED: Andanar: NBI to probe 'sabotage' of Philippine News Agency

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