February 7, 2017
NUJP condemns PSG harassment of Palace reporters
The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines condemns personnel of the Presidential Security Group who attempted to prevent media from covering a protest outside Malacanang by relatives of political prisoners Tuesday morning.
While we understand the PSG’s task of securing the grounds of the presidential palace, we do not see how part of this responsibility includes confiscating camera footage taken by journalists.
According to a report by ABS-CBN: “One reporter engaged in a tug of war for his cellphone with a PSG guard who attempted to erase video clips of the incident from the device. The journalist secured the footage by fleeing on board his crew cab.” (http://news.abs-cbn.com/news/02/07/17/tension-flares-as-palace-guards-block-protest)
This is clear overreach and indicates that members of what is supposed to be among the most elites of the country’s security forces do not possess even the most basic appreciation not only of what media do but, more worrisome, of the limits that the law imposes on their authority.
After all, presidential guards or not, they remain part of a security apparatus sworn to “protect and defend” the people, not prevent the lawful exercise of their rights and liberties.
We call on the presidential task force on media safety to immediately look into this incident and ensure that disciplinary measures are implemented as needed and such an incident does not happen again.
Ryan Rosauro, Chair
NUJP Hotline 09175155991