PCOO exec tagging journalists as terrorists puts them in danger — NUJP

Ratziel San Juan - Philstar.com
PCOO exec tagging journalists as terrorists puts them in danger â NUJP
The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines in an Oct. 6, 2019 statement said Communications Undersecretary Lorraine Badoy is accountable for any harm caused by her claim that NUJP and progressive media outfits are “terrorist” communists.
News5 YouTube Channel, Screen grab

MANILA, Philippines — The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines said Wednesday that Presidential Communications Undersecretary Lorraine Badoy will be held accountable for any harm caused by her claim that it and alternative media outfits are "terrorist" communists.

"By linking the NUJP with communists, which Badoy also branded as terrorists, journalists are clearly painted as enemies of the state. This is essentially an open call for state forces to threaten, harass, arrest, detain and kill journalists for doing their job," NUJP said.

On One News’ "The Chiefs" on Monday, Badoy of the Presidential Communication Operations Office claimed without providing proof that certain media organizations, including the NUJP are communist fronts.

"Are they or are they not part of the CPP-NPA (Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army)? They are," Badoy said, claiming that there is evidence to prove it.

Badoy also said that some state actions like the banning of coverage are warranted as she defended President Rodrigo Duterte who previously blamed media corruption for journalist killings.

'State crackdown' on legal organizations

NUJP said Badoy’s claims were made in the context of a current “state crackdown” on legal organizations.

"Badoy’s unjust labelling comes in the wake of the arrest and detention of community journalist Anne Krueger during the series of raids in Bacolod City last October 31. She has been slapped with clearly false charges of illegal possession of firearms," the group said.

"As for those behind these attempts to muzzle and shackle the Philippine press, should any harm befall our colleagues because of your machinations, you will be held to account."

NUJP said there has been an “intensifying campaign” since December 2018 to paint their organization, independent media outfits, and journalists as legal fronts of the armed communist rebellion in the country.

The organization cited National Intelligence Coordinating Agency regional director Rolando Asuncion’s accusation in September that four-time Golden Dove awardee and general manager of Pampanga station CLTV36 Sonia Soto, along with 30 other media practitioners, is a member of the CPP. 

"I cannot accept this label or tag because I am neither a communist nor a terrorist," Soto said in September in response to the accusation.

"I am a professional TV station manager and a Kapisanan ng brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP)-licensed TV broadcaster. I have never allowed CLTV36 or any of its shows to be a mouthpiece for anyone advocating terrorism or to raise arms against government in the course of my work as a broadcaster and general manager of CLTV36," she said then.

RELATED: State media slammed for validating 'red-tagging' of journos


NUJP, the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines, and reporters from different media outfits, also hit Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. for using an expletive against a Philippine Daily Inquirer reporter covering the 35th Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit in Bangkok.

"Uh, did you get the putangina I sent you? That’s the last event, purely ceremonial and short. Jokowi had left, Mahathir too," Locsin said on Tuesday, quote-tweeting the journalist who reported that Duterte had failed to attend the event.

“The tweet simply stated a fact and insinuated nothing. It is a shame since [Locsin] is fond of boasting about his journalistic past,” NUJP chair Nonoy Espina reportedly said.

Rappler reporter Pia Ranada, who is banned from covering the president in public events, also said the Inquirer reporter was only stating facts as required by her job.

“Was the expletive necessary? She was only doing her job. It’s a fact that you represented Pres Duterte. It’s a fact that he skipped the closing ceremony,” Ranada said.

Poor record

The Philippines has the most unsolved murders among countries listed in the Global Impunity Index 2019 by the Committee to Protect Journalists. With a record of 41 unsolved killings this year, the Philippines fared worse than conflict-ridden regions like Syria and Iraq.

“The country’s fifth-worst ranking is due in part to the deadly ambush of 58 individuals, including 32 journalists and media workers, in Ampatuan, Maguindanao, on November 23, 2009,” the CPJ report read.

“The trial of over 100 suspects behind the massacre is due to conclude this year, but as of August 31, 2019—the final date CPJ counted convictions for this year’s index—no verdict had been announced.”

NUJP, however, said journalists in the country will not be deterred by the spate of violations against the media.

“We say this with certainty: the community of independent Filipino news outfits and journalists will never again cave in to these efforts. The lessons of the Philippines under the Marcos dictatorship have proven this,” NUJP said.

“Filipino journalists will continue telling the truth. The Filipino people deserve no less.”








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