DAVAO CITY, Philippines—The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) denounced the attacks against two journalists on social media and called on the Presidential Communications Office to investigate these threats.
In a statement on Monday, September 19, the NUJP said the attacks against freelance journalist Gretchen Malalad and Al-Jazeera correspondent Jamela Alindogan-Caudron “have gone beyond legitimate criticism of their professional output to outright threats on their persons.”
The two Philippine-based women reporters were heavily criticized on the social media. Malalad, a former broadcaster of television giant ABS-CBN earned the ire of netizens after she was accused to have shared information to a foreign journalist who wrote a report published in TIME about extrajudicial killings under the Duterte’s administration.
Meanwhile, Alindogan-Caudron, a correspondent of Al Jazeera was also attacked simply because she appeared in a photo with the former ABS-CBN reporter.
“We call on Communications Secretary Martin Andanar to immediately cause an investigation and take action against the open threats against Ms. Malalad and Ms. Alindogan-Caudron, and to do its utmost to ensure that none of these are carried out,” said NUJP Chair Ryan D. Rosauro in a statement.
“The media, whether here or elsewhere, will always welcome engagement, including criticism, from their audience for this is also how we learn to be more effective communicators,” he added.
NUJP, however, warned that it will “never take any threats, whether of physical harm or to silence us, lightly for we have lost far too many of our colleagues and hardly seen justice for them.”
It also called on journalists to report any and all threats so that it will be properly documented and referred to the appropriate law enforcement bodies for action.
The group also challenged the Duterte administration to investigate the media killings and other threats against the Philippine press.
“This might be the perfect opportunity for the task force, or an equivalent mechanism currently available, to prove its worth,” NUJP said.
Stop the blame game
NUJP urged the Duterte administration to end what it called a “penchant of constantly blaming the media for any controversy its words and actions give rise to.”
“As journalists, it is our duty to report events as faithfully as we can. To blame us for the consequences of what those we cover utter or do is tantamount to asking us to abrogate our duties and be silent. This we cannot and will never do,” the group said.
NUJP said it will continue to “oppose any attempts to stifle press freedom, a freedom that, incidentally, does not belong to us but to the people, whose right to know that freedom serves.” (davaotoday.com)