Photojournalists appeal ban at SEAG opening

Photojournalists are disallowed from covering the opening ceremony of the 30th Southeast Asian Games at the Philippine Arena tonight, the Photojournalists Center of the Philippines (PCP) said.

In a statement late Friday night, the PCP said they are saddened by the decision and asked Philippine South East Asian Games Organizing Committee (PHISGOC) chairperson Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano to reconsider.

“While we recognize the logistical challenge of having hundreds of photographers covering the event, we appeal to the PHISGOC to reconsider this decision by consulting with representatives of accredited photographers and arriving at an orderly way of ‘pooling’ from accredited members of the local and foreign media, which has always been adopted in similar events like this,” the PCP said.

The 30th edition of the South East Asian Games (SEAG), hosted by the Philippines for the fourth time, formally kicks off tonight at the country’s biggest indoor arena.

In appealing their sudden exclusion, the PCP said photojournalists from all nations have always regarded covering an important event such as this biennial sports meet as part of their job “as recorders of history.”

“All past editions of [this] multinational event in all the host countries in its history, including our own, have always considered the important role of photojournalists in these events,” the group said.

The PCP explained that photojournalists have followed stringent rules to get themselves accredited ahead of time to cover the games.

The group also pointed that the Filipino people are spending for hosting the games and it is their right and duty to record the events.

NUJP joins PCP’s appeal

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) joined their colleagues in calling for the scrapping of the reported plans to disallow photojournalists at the opening ceremonies.

“If the [PHISGOC] is afraid it might be the victim of ‘fake news,’ the best defense is to show the truth, the whole truth, in all its warts and glory, not withdraw behind a veil. And who, if not our photojournalists, can do that without fear or favor?” the NUJP said in a statement.

The group pointed out that restricting what people see to official photos and other efforts to control the flow of information can only bolster suspicions that there are things they need to conceal.

“This would be the greatest betrayal to the spirit of the Games and to the athletes as they aim for glory,” the NUJP said. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

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)