Don’t blame us for SEA Games woes, journalists tell Phisgoc exec

A journalists’ group urged organizers of the 30th South East Asian Games to stop blaming media for the many woes plaguing the biennial regional tilt.

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) in a statement said it is ridiculously unacceptable when the officials responsible for the problems in the country’s hosting of the games to resort to bashing the media “as if the reports on their shortcomings were to blame for the disaster.”

The group was reacting to Philippine South East Asian Games Organizing Committee (PHISGOC) chief operating officer Ramon Suzara who called out media for continuously “negative” reporting.

The PHISGOC officer complained Wednesday that so-called negative news on social media makes their job more complicated, adding that fake news spread like wildfire.

“I am appealing to everyone to put a good note on our hosting. Let us be fair in bringing positive news,” Suzara said at a press conference Wednesday.

The NUJP, however, said it is not in Suzara’s place to ask media to only publish positive reports and project the country in a good light.

“The NUJP wishes to remind Mr. Suzara that the duty of the press has always been to report things as they are, based on verifiable facts, and not to pander to anyone’s perception of what is, or should be,” the NUJP said.

The group said that the officer’s attempt to dictate how the media should report the news has no place in a democracy.

“The truth is, even if media chose to distort the image, this would do nothing to hide the gargantuan mess the whole world already knows about,” the NUJP explained.

If anything, the NUJP added, reporting on the true state of the SEA games preparations can only help the Philippines be spared from being so humiliated in the future.

The NUJP lauded journalists “who have insisted on reporting on what is happening without fear or favor, despite the heavy online harassment and trolling.” # (Raymund B. Villanueva)