BAGUIO CITY — The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) said President Rodgrigo Duterte’s “sweeeping” claim that some journalists are members of the New People’s Army (NPA) is “a potential death warrant” against journalists.
In a statement of the NUJP national directorate said that there is nothing wrong with journalists to have links with all sectors, groups and personalities in or outside the government, including the NPA, as news sources.
Duterte made this claim in a radio interview last December 19.
According to the official transcript: “I do not want to add more strain to what people are now suffering. ‘Yung kata****** ng NPA. Sinong NPA dito? Halika nga. “Tapos pagtalikod mo, marami. Sige na, sige na. Walang hiyaan. Huwag kayo mahiya. Sino? T*** i*** ang ni sino sa inyo walang kamay ni isa. May alam ako mga journalists na Left talaga. O baka nagkadre doon sa Cordillera.”
“Specifically, Duterte’s claim directly endangers our colleagues who work in the Cordillera region but does the same for those elsewhere in the country,” the NUJP statement said.
The media group said the President’s claim will cast a chilling effect on journalists who intend to cover communist rebels in the continuing efforts to better explain the roots of the decades long civil war. His claims, the group said, would also embolden those, including state agents, who seek to silence journalists reporting about dissent with the convinient cover of counterinsurgency.
“With this penchant for such wild and dangerous claims added to his well-known aversion to those who do not agree with him, we fear it will not be long until Duterte directly targets the critical media in his government’s efforts to stamp out dissent,” the NUJP statement said.
“We call on the independent Philippine media and all Filipinos who cherish our rights and freedoms to stand together in common cause and oppose all attempts to silence us,” the NUJP statement ended. # nordis.net