[STATEMENT] NUJP on Ted Failon’s libel suit

[STATEMENT] NUJP on Ted Failon’s libel suit
August 16, 2017

The libel suit against ABS-CBN’s Ted Failon and members of his staff again underscores how onion-skinned government officials wield the antediluvian criminal libel law as a bludgeon in their vain hope to cow critical journalism into silence.

Failon and his three colleagues posted bail Tuesday after they were ordered arrested by a Tagaytay City court for the case filed by then Metro Manila Development Authority chairman and now presidential political adviser Francis Tolentino.

The charge stems from an episode of “Failon Ngayon” that looked into the allegedly irregular purchase by the MMMDA under Tolentino of secondhand motorcycles for Pope Francis’ visit to Manila in 2014, which the Commission on Audit had questioned.

Regardless of the merits of the case, there can be no doubt Failon had taken on a subject of public interest and significance and sought accountability from a government official sworn to uphold the law and promote the general welfare.

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines stands squarely with Ted Failon and his colleagues and call on Mr. Tolentino to drop his misbegotten suit against them.

Mr. Tolentino claims his reputation was tarnished. But seeking to jail journalists instead of squarely responding to the valid issues they raised can only taint his image even more.

Filing a criminal libel suit instead of responding to an issue honestly smacks of vindictiveness and goes against the very principle of public office being a public trust.

We also reiterate our long-standing demand for Congress to swiftly legislate the decriminalization of libel and bar its use by public servants to quell legitimate inquiries and criticism of their actions.

Reference:

Atty. Jo Clemente
Acting Chair
(0917) 515 5991

[STATEMENT] NUJP on Lingao-Tulfo feud

[STATEMENT] NUJP on Lingao-Tulfo feud
June 24, 2017

At a time when Philippine journalism is being challenged by many Filipinos to be true to its vow of being truthful, balanced and fair in our reportage and commentaries, we hereby reaffirm our commitment to the same.

At a time when it has become even more difficult to ferret truth from lies, spins and fakery, we hereby restate our firm promise to a high sense of responsibility and honesty in the practice of our chosen profession.

We do so as we express our support to our esteemed colleague Ed Lingao who is now being pilloried and threatened by some quarters.

According to the Philippine Broadcast Code of 2011, we should observe the following:

1. To broadcast (and publish) commentaries only by persons who have thorough knowledge of and practice of broadcast (and journalism) ethics, present opposing or contrasting views fairly, and not allow our personal bias or prejudice to distort the facts (Article 2. ANALYSIS AND COMMENTARIES);
2. To prohibit personal attacks and unfair criticism (Article 4. PERSONAL ATTACKS)
3. To acknowledge and rectify mistakes as soon as possible (Article 5. CORRECTING MISTAKES);
4. To prohibit offensive, obscene, profane and vulgar words and phrases as well as name-calling and personal insult (Article 25. SEX, OBSCENITY AND PORNOGRAPHY and Article 27. ON-AIR LANGUAGE);
5. To adhere to the basic principles, ethical standards of journalism as well as code of conduct for broadcast media (Article 29. QUALIFICATION OF ON-AIR/PROGRAM PERSONS and Article 33. UNIVERSAL ETHICAL STANDARDS).

Admittedly, some colleagues have forgotten these ethical standards that should govern our work as broadcasters and journalists. We believe Ed Lingao’s main intention in calling out a fellow broadcaster who commented on a fake news item was to remind us of these and to protect our profession from further erosion of the people’s trust and respect of Filipinos.

We take Mr Lingao’s criticism as a general challenge to all journalists and broadcasters.

Indeed, we, from time to time, need reminding.

National Directorate
National Union of Journalists of the Philippines
NUJP Hotline 09175155991

[STATEMENT] NUJP on threats vs photojournalist Jes Aznar

[STATEMENT] NUJP on threats vs photojournalist Jes Aznar
June 20, 2017

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines expresses deep concern at the threats continuously being received by photojournalist Jes Aznar, whose work appears, among others, in the New York Times and is also carried by international photo agencies, over a mistaken accusation by the blog site Thinking Pinoy published by one RJ Nieto.

Nieto accused Aznar of posting real time photos of soldiers battling the Maute and Abu Sayyaf groups in Marawi City, thereby possibly giving away their positions and endangering their lives.

Aznar has repeatedly clarified he posted the photo in question when they were already out of the area, thus he could not have endangered the soldiers at that time. He also said that he only had good intentions in posting the photo on his Facebook social media account, such as showing the public how active the government troops were in quelling the Maute and Abu Sayyaf.

We condemn Thinking Pinoy and Mr. Nieto for endangering a journalist, more so on unfounded reasons. We likewise condemn those who threaten our colleague who was simply doing his job.

We commend the brave journalists who inform the Filipino people and the world about the unfolding events in Marawi City and elsewhere.

We urge authorities to protect Mr. Aznar from these threats and to assist him should he seek redress and accountability for those who seek to put him in danger.

Reference:
Dabet Panelo
Secretary General

For inquiries and other concerns, please call NUJP Hotline 09175155991

Secure, not restrict: NUJP on military barring media to leave Lanao del Sur capitol

Secure, not restrict: NUJP on military barring media to leave Lanao del Sur capitol
June 16, 2017

It has come to my attention that journalists covering the ongoing war in Marawi City were barred from leaving the Lanao del Sur provincial capitol compound as part of measures adopted by the Philippine Army to ensure the safety of everybody in the area.

The tightened security measures were a result of an incident Thursday when Australian Broadcasting Corp. (ABC) reporter Adam Harvey was injured in the neck by a sniper bullet while covering an evacuation center near the provincial capitol premises.

We welcome the reminders issued by government authorities for journalists to always be mindful of their safety while covering the crisis which was wore on for more than three weeks now. A similar reminder was issued by the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) early today.

But I am surprised to learn that the military command with direct responsibility over Marawi City has used, among others, the NUJP statement as reason for barring journalists to venture into areas where they think a story is waiting to be told. Such extreme consequence was never contemplated in the statement issued by the NUJP.

Neither should the statement be construed as seeking escorts among government security forces in the course of news gathering in the war zone. The Army can help protect journalists by sharing information about the obtaining security situation in a particular section of the city at a given time. Such information will be crucial in shaping decisions that each journalist will take.

The ongoing siege by Islamic State-inspired militants have grave implications not just for Marawi and Lanao del Sur but for the entire country. It is therefore important that independent eyes be allowed to view its day-to-day unfolding. Every single passing moment lost in terms of opportunity to chronicle the ongoing war deprives the public of firsthand accounts of its shaping dynamics, which is changing each passing day.

I am confident that the journalists who committed to do this difficult task have enough professional preparations and experience to face the challenges, including personal security.

Reference:
RYAN D. ROSAURO
Chairman
National Union of Journalists of the Philippines
Hotline: 09175155991

[STATEMENT] NUJP on safety of journalists covering Marawi City

[STATEMENT] NUJP on safety of journalists covering Marawi City
June 16, 2017

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines enjoins our colleagues now covering the battle in Marawi City to strictly observe safety protocols in light of the reported injury sustained by Australian Broadcasting Corp.’s Adam Harvey yesterday.


Harvey was injured on the left side of his neck as he was covering the evacuation center in the Lanao del Sur Capitol yesterday morning. His injury is minor and he is out of danger.

Nonetheless, the incident starkly shows how dangerous the situation is for journalists on the ground. May we remind our colleagues to never abandon media safety procedures, especially near where the fighting is happening.


May we also ask the security forces in Marawi to further ensure the journalists’ safety as their presence in Marawi and the work they do are vital.

Reference:
Dabet Panelo
Secretary General
NUJP Hotline: 09175155991