Posts

Media group to reporters, protesters: You are not each other’s enemy

A media organization reminded colleagues to go beyond traffic and disruption in reporting on protest rallies as it urged transport organization Manibela not to treat reporters as enemies following an altercation in Quezon City last Monday.

In an alert last Wednesday, National Union of Journalists of the Philippines-Metro Manila Chapter (NUJP-MMC) said it encourages fellow reporters to focus more on those accountable for problems instead of sectors who are fighting for their livelihood.

“Colleagues are encouraged to go beyond the narrative of traffic and disruption and report on why protests are held in the first place. These inputs will help better inform the truth that we report,” the NUJP-MMC said.

The media group however said that violence or threats against reporters have no justification, adding Manibela could have set a dialogue with Gonzales or file complaint with his newsroom if they object to his kind of reporting.

‘Perwisyo’?

DZRH radio reporter Val Gonzales said he was hit by protesting jeepney drivers while covering their rally in front of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board office along East Avenue.

Gonzales complained he was reporting that Manibela was causing a traffic jam while occupying the road when approached by some protesters who “hit his back.”

“They punched me as Manibela members rushed toward me because I was reporting the truth,” Gonzales said in a live report on the incident.

DZRH reporter Val Gonzales (in red shirt) confronting protesting jeepney drivers. (Grab from Johnson Manaba’s x)

In his report, Gonzales used the Filipino word “perwisyo” (from the Spanish original perjuicio) in describing Manibela’s protest action against the forced surrender of their driving franchises under the government’s Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program.

Manibela chairperson Mar Valbuena however disputed Gonzales’ claim of physical harm despite the reporter “provoking” and “insulting” them immediately before going on air.

“He insulted and cursed at members of Manibela saying they should be jailed due to the inconvenience caused before he went on air for the DZRH program,” Valbuena said.

Valbuena said their members only approached Gonzales to talk to him.

The transport leader said he has apologized for the incident, adding that Manibela respects journalists and that he hopes the latter will do the same for them.

ABS-CBN reporter Johnson Manabat’s post on X shows Gonzales being protected by a DZRH colleague while angry-looking Manibela members were trying to get to him.

Not each others’ enemy

Gonzales said he already talked to the Quezon City Police District on the possible filing of a complaint against Manibela members.

The Presidential Task Force for Media Security (PTFoMs) said it denounces the incident, adding will assist the reporter in filing a complaint.

DZRH station manager Rudolph Steve Jularbal said their network will press charges against those involved in the “punching” of their reporter, saying the incident was harassment and a violation of press freedom.

The Defense Press Corps (DPC also condemned the incident, saying the violence was “unjustifiable.”

The Philippine National Police, Justice Reporter’s Organization, Quezon City Journalists’ Group Inc., and Southern Metro Manila Tri-Media denounced the incident.

NUJP-MMC said it reached out to Gonzales who reportedly replied he would soon provide further details of the incident after consulting with his legal counsel.

NUJP-MMC added that despite high tensions and emotions at protests and rallies, the media should not be regarded as the enemy nor should reporters treat protesters as enemies either. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)