The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) slammed presidential peace adviser Jesus Dureza for his “irresponsible journalism” accusation against several news outfits, adding the official owes journalists an apology.
In a statement Tuesday, June 19, the NUJP said Dureza is too quick to hurl accusations of irresponsible journalism against news outfits that reported that Norway would no longer be the third-party facilitator for peace talks between the government and communist rebels.
In a Facebook post, Dureza stated Monday the media report saying Norway is being removed or is no longer “facilitator” in the peace negotiations between the philippine government and the communist rebels is a total fabrication.
“It is an example of irresponsible journalism,” Dureza added.
The NUJP, however, did not take Dureza’s statement sitting down, saying he should have checked presidential spokesperson Harry Roque’s claim against the record
“[Dureza], at the very least, should be aware that the source of the story, presidential spokesman Harry Roque, has built a reputation for prevarication within an administration that has time and again proven itself to be the prime purveyor of falsehood and, in fact, has welcomed experts of this dark craft into the bureaucracy.”
NUJP pointed out that during the question and answer portion of Roque’s press briefing at Malacañan Monday morning, CNN Philippines’ Ina Andolong asked whether President Rodrigo Duterte wanted the talks held in the country “and not be facilitated by Norway” and what the formal process for transferring the venue might be.
NUJP said Roque did not give an unequivocal reply to these questions, prompting Andolong to ask further: “Who will be facilitating the talks here then?”
“Wala na po siguro, nandito na naman tayo sa Pilipinas,” Roque replied, adding President Rordrigo Duterte could not understand why the peace negotiations have to be held abroad. (Perhaps there would no longer be one, as we are here in the Philippines already.)
That “Perhaps there would no longer be one” is what many news outfits reported, NUJP said.
The NUJP said that while Dureza had reason enough to worry about the reports, the fault lay not with media but with the government’s all too often muddled communications, particularly Roque who eventually tried to weasel his way out of a bad situation by claiming, in a subsequent statement, that he had only talked about Duterte’s wish for the talks to be held in the country.
In a subsequent statement, Roque said that he hopes the record is set straight that what he said was that any peace negotiation that would be entered into by the Philippine government and the NDFP should be held inside the country, referring to the venue of the talks.
But the NUJP said that records are clear that Roque is, “at best, cherry picking through his words, at worst, brazenly twisting the truth.”
“Which seems par for the course as far as this administration goes,” NUJP added.
NUJP said Dureza, himself a former reporter, owes the journalists he wrongly accused an apology.
“And while, truth to tell, we do not expect one, we would love to be surprised,” the group added. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)