Journalists slam PNP over door-to-door bid for good coverage

MANILA, Philippines – The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) slammed the Philippine National Police (PNP) on Sunday, October 7, for its recent visit to a newspaper office in Bacolod to ask for favorable news coverage.

"The media should not be blamed if it reports critical stories, like drug wars, killings, and corruption. It is their duty to the public to report the truth. Government forces must never harass, intimidate, or attack journalists who are just doing their jobs," said NUJP Bacolod in a statement.

The statement addressed the visit of 4 policemen to the office of SunStar Bacolod, which is part of a newspaper chain with distribution to key cities across the Philippines. There, the cops appealed for a partnership for the newspaper to cover them favorably after noticing paper's supposed frequent negative coverage of them.

Aside from the proposal, the NUJP said staffers were photographed without their permission before the cops left.

According to a copy of the order shared to media personnel, the directive to forge partnerships with news outlets was prompted by the undated verbal instruction of no less than PNP chief Oscar Albayalde. It was then backed by a memorandum on September 26 by the PNP's chief directorial staff Camilo Cascolan.

The project is supposedly in line with their communications plan called Santinig.

"Now, the media should not be blamed if it reports critical stories, like drug wars, killings, and corruption. It is their duty to the public to report the truth," the NUJP said.

"Authorities are urged to respect the journalists and their duty to the public. They must not intimidate or restrict our rights to gather and spread information. We also call on our colleagues to remain steadfast, unwavering and united in our duty and commitment to the public," the group added.  – Rappler.com