The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) said a state news agency’s story accusing the media group of maintaining links with the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) confirms government’s hand in the vilification campaign.
Reacting to a Philippine News Agency (PNA) story Tuesday, the NUJP said it can already say for certain that the Rodrigo Duterte government is behind the attacks against the media group.
“Thanks to the Philippine News Agency, which under this administration has been transformed into a paragon of incompetence and fakery masquerading as ‘journalism,’ for providing proof positive with the January 8 article, ‘Red link tag on NUJP not ‘orchestrated’: ex-rebels,” the NUJP said.
“The PNA article follows the style of the canard foisted by the tabloids, which liberally quoted the fantastical and totally fictional account of a supposed ex-rebel and ‘NUJP founder’ who went by the alias ‘Ka Ernesto’ without even bothering to get our side,” the group added.
Four tabloids published stories Monday accusing the NUJP of fronting for the CPP, quoting a certain “Ka Ernesto” who claimed he was a founding member of the union.
The NUJP immediately denied the accusation, saying its membership reflect a broad spectrum of creeds and beliefs united only by their desire to defend and expand the bounds of freedom of the press and of free expression.
Quoting a purported group called Kilusan at Alyansa ng mga Dating Rebelde (KADRE), PNA’s story denied that “revelations” against the NUJP is part of an orchestrated or “well-planned” operation to intimidate critical journalists into silence.
“Ang gusto po namin ay malinaw na sagot kung totoo bang legal front ng CPP-NPA-NDF ang NUJP (We just want to know the clear answer if the NUJP is a legal front of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front),” the PNA quoted KADRE as allegedly saying.
KADRE claims it is a group of more than 300 former members of the CPP and New People’s Army nationwide.
The group has yet to make a public appearance.
Aside from PNA and the four tabloids, however, no other media outfit published a story on KADRE’s accusation against the NUJP.
“That the state news agency, which is under the supervision of the Presidential Communications Operations Office, saw fit to run this utterly malicious and false story clearly proves that this is, indeed, an orchestrated campaign to vilify and silence not just the NUJP but the independent and critical press, involving no less than the Government of the Republic of the Philippines,” the NUJP said.
“Pathetic as this effort is, we are taking it very seriously as a direct threat by government against the NUJP and independent media and will take what steps necessary to protect our members and our rights,” the group added.
The NUJP earlier said it is seeking advice for possible legal actions against its accusers. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)