FOCAP statement on online attacks vs foreign correspondents

FOCAP statement on online attacks vs foreign correspondents

The Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines, or FOCAP, strongly condemns and protests online attacks on some of our members for truthfully reporting to the world what is happening in the country.

Photographs of four of our colleagues have been maliciously posted on the Internet by people who express support to President Rodrigo Duterte and wish our colleagues and their families harm.

They have been accused of lying and called sordid names for reporting what the president has stated publicly under the same unflinching standard of fairness, accuracy and objectivity held for past leaders and all stories.

In the case of President Duterte’s unprecedented remarks on Hitler, the Holocaust and his anti-drug campaign, which FOCAP members have widely reported on, he has apologized to the Jewish world.

These online threats, which are meant to strike fear and muzzle one of Asia’s freest press, are deplorable and criminal.

Like our colleagues in the region, we believe that the independent press must not be subjected to harassment, organized or otherwise. While fair criticisms are welcome in the wide latitude of our deeply-treasured and hard-won democracy, we will not sit idly by when our colleagues are subjected to vicious attacks of any kind.

President Duterte has called on his supporters to cease online attacks against the independent media but the assaults have continued. We urge the president and his administration to take more effective steps to stop this impunity.

FOCAP, one of the country’s most prestigious and respected media organizations, was founded in 1974 to safeguard press freedom. Then, now and under any president, it will continue to fight for the freedoms that are a lifeline to all of us working journalists.