January 12, 2005
The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) is gravely concerned with developments following the burning of the ABS-CBN OB van.
NUJP condemns any line of reasoning that implies displeasure over media reports — whether for real or imagined slights — is enough excuse for violence. This is unacceptable. While the NUJP joins other media groups in campaigning for ethical reportage, it will consistently fight any attempt to bend media by coercion.
On the other hand, we cannot ignore the possibility that feuding political groups could be using media in their power struggles. What would FPJ supporters have to gain by attacking ABS-CBN property – and claiming the act? It would only enrage an entire sector since no journalist would wish harm on another, even a rival. And to give the late actors’ supporters credit, even at their hour of greatest loss and anguish, words were solely their form of expression.
As for confessional emails by juandelacruz, it is not the first time the name identified with everyman has been used in propaganda dirty tricks. In fact, several NUJP members have received from juandelacruz email containing incendiary poetry supposedly authored by Sen. Gringo Honasan.
Dirty tricks are part and parcel of the dirt journalists have to wade through in their jobs. Normally, these are dismissed after verification. But to face this possibility in connection with a violent attack should be utmost cause for concern in a country where a dozen journalists were killed last year.
We urge the police to investigate this case with independence and integrity. Scapegoats can only add to the outrage.
While some authorities had hinted even earlier that attacks on journalists could be linked to segments of the political opposition,
the NUJP has yet to see a single proof to back this claim. It remains, as of the moment, unfounded speculation. We remind authorities to be circumspect in their statements. Do not muddle an already tense situation.
The NUJP believes majority of our colleagues in media will resist attempts to drag the profession into political crossfire.
We call on ABS-CBN and our colleagues in the press not to be cowed by this attack. We urge them not to be intimidated by these saboteurs and political manipulators. We appeal to them to go on doing their jobs as professionally and responsibly as they can.
INDAY ESPINA VARONA