The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) slammed Manila Times columnist Rigoberto Tiglao for endangering writers and media organizations by calling them unpatriotic in his November 17 column.
In a statement today, the NUJP said Tiglao made “fictitious assertions” about “partisan writers” who “badmouth the country” in foreign publications that could put said writers as well as their media organizations in danger.
“Tiglao should know that red-baiting and slander can push people, including the staff of Bulatlat, PCIJ (Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism) and CMFR (Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility), into the line of fire in a country that remains one of the deadliest for the profession,” the NUJP said.
“Should anything untoward happen to any of our colleagues from the three entities slandered by Tiglao, we will hold him and his mercenary pen among the accountable,” the NUJP said.
In his column, Tiglao wrote former journalist, now Human Rights Watch researcher, Carlos Conde started his journalistic career with “communist” online news outfit Bulatlat.com.
“Conde started his career as a journalist in the news website bulatlat.com, allegedly run by Communist Party propaganda cadres,” Tiglao said.
Conde however started his career writing and editing for Mindanao-based newspapers, moving on to national publications, The New York Times and Washington Post before joining Bulatlat.
“Ironically, Conde later joined the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism and the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility – NGOs that are funded by the American National Endowment for Democracy, which have been accused as conduits for CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) funding. I don’t think Conde has written anything positive about the Philippines working as stringer for US papers for two decades,” Tiglao added.
The NUJP took exception to Tiglao’s reference to Conde’s previous association with the three organizations, saying the columnist displayed “one of the shoddiest journalistic practices” for his unattributed assertions.
Tiglao also tried to demonize Sheila Coronel, PCIJ co-founder, as well as his fellow columnist Manolo Quezon, simply because he disagrees with them, the NUJP said.
“Going by his specious logic that mere association is enough to condemn anyone, are we then to conclude that Tiglao, with his history of service to previous and current principals, who many people consider as fascists, then make him a murderous terrorist human rights abuser?” the NUJP asked.
“Wouldn’t that then make him, as he so cavalierly claims of people who are or have been better journalists than he can ever be, ‘so unpatriotic’?” the group asked further.
The NUJP in turn accused Tiglao of being the propagandist he accused Conde, Coronel and Quezon of being.
“In dissing so-called propagandists, Tiglao conveniently ignores the fact that he has long been one, and that of the worst kind,” the NUJP said.
Tiglao was known to write articles defending former Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, herself accused of rampant human rights violations as president.
His Manila Times column is also a staunch defender of the Rodrigo Duterte government’s war on drugs that has reportedly killed up to 13,000 victims. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)