Candidates and their supporters should not target journalists


WE fully endorse the call the National Union of Journalists made yesterday asking candidates and their supporters to “Spare journalists from being targets in the May 9 political battle.”  The call specifically cites moves against journalists by Duterte supporters but asks political camps in general to refrain from targeting journalists who are just doing their job.

Here is the NUJP statement in full:

Spare journalists from being targets in the May 9 political battle

The emotional intensity surrounding this year’s general elections may be unsurpassed in Philippine history. We understand and, indeed, applaud the passion people have shown as they choose whom next to lead the country for the next six years.

Apart from the bothersome demagoguery—which has normally attended every Philippine election—we are worried about the frenzies of hatred among individuals who do not share the same political views, and against journalists whose reports and stories some quarters dislike because these casts a light on some aspects of the lives of their choices in the ballot.

In our monitoring of the plight of colleagues covering the campaign trail, we note a pattern of harassments perpetrated by supporters of Partido Demokratiko ng Pilipinas-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) presidential bet Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, to wit:

•Vera Files editor Ellen Tordesillas was bullied on social media for her effort to verify the existence of the assailed BPI bank account of Mayor Duterte;

•Alleging biased reporting, supporters harassed numerous times ABS-CBN reporter Raffy Santos while following Duterte in the campaign trail;

•Jacque Manabat was cursed by a supporter after a man identified her as an ABS-CBN reporter;

•A camera crew of ABS-CBN reporter Doris Bigornia was thrown punches during a coverage;

•On Friday morning, May 6, a wreath was laid outside the ABS-CBN station in Davao City bearing the words: “RIP ABS-CBN”;

•There have been calls in social media for an “occupy ABS-CBN” in Davao and Cagayan de Oro cities; and

•There have been numerous posts on social media inciting hate and anger, especially against ABS-CBN reporters.

While the attacks by Duterte sympathizers against the journalists appear unorganized, spontaneous and bereft of official sanction, we welcome the previous instances when Duterte’s spokesman, Peter Tiu Laviña, called for calm among their supporters. A renewed call may be needed at this point given the already heated atmosphere as we move closer to Election Day, not just from Duterte’s camp but from those of other candidates as well, since we cannot discount the possibility of rival operators exploiting the situation for their own ends.

We hope that such call for calm, when issued, will help ease the social tension that our colleagues, especially those from ABS-CBN, will be facing and dealing with in the course of covering the conduct of the general elections, and save them from possible physical harm.

It is important that journalists are not hindered by threats in carrying out the work that they do because our people deserve quality information at this crucial period of our country’s history so that they are able to decide better in the ballot.

We note that the harassment against ABS-CBN reporters and crew became bolder after the broadcast company aired a paid advertisement carrying a negative campaign message against Mayor Duterte. His supporters must understand that the ad was aired based on a commercial consideration and has nothing to do with the journalistic mission of ABS-CBN.

The negative campaigning added fire to the already highly charged discussions on social media about an alleged plan to rig the results of the upcoming polls and possibly snatch from Duterte his supposedly impending victory. Perhaps, it may also help ease the tension if the other presidential contenders declare their commitment not to resort to poll manipulation in order to clinch victory.

We express concern over the safety and security of our colleagues in the provinces, especially those in areas dubbed as election hotspots, who will be covering the poll conduct. We understand that they are under extremely dangerous situations, especially in their effort to uncover the poll manipulations, which, to this day, have refused to leave our electoral system despite the adoption of automated vote counting.

We urge our colleagues to adhere to the tenets of safety and security in going about our work of chronicling the 2016 political exercise.

Should there be threats, harassment, intimidation, or any untoward incidents befalling you, please don’t hesitate to keep in touch with the NUJP Media Safety Office through hotline numbers 09175155991 and 09278652343.


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  1. I have to agree with Mark “While violence against journalists should not be resorted to by angry supporters of politicians. Those on media should be objective in reporting news.” ABS-CBN is just too bias in many ways hence don’t blame the citizen if they are so angry with you guys so disappointing indeed!!

  2. While violence against journalists should not be resorted to by angry supporters of politicians. Those on media should be objective in reporting news. Oftentimes, media is plagued with too much sensationalism and biased reporting. But when they are castigated or criticized. They cry foul! And insists on freedom of speech… the MEDIA does not hold monopoly of the truth and information. Instead, they should be more circumspect in handling the news and nit overkill in doing the report or writing the news. More often than not. These so called journalists, as they claim they are. Report the news as they see fit. Please stop making the news yourselves, report and tell it as they are. There should be a commission or bureau who will look into violations of media people. We have too much freedom here in the country, thats why people are abusing it in the guise of freedom of speech and expression.

  3. I have to agree with revitor. I guess through the years the network has proven to be biased and may kinikilingan. Even the way they report insinuates their unfair media coverage. I am not for Duterte and I am not for violence. But i guess they owe the Filipino people and its their big moral responsibility to be fair and just sa pagbabalita. This should be a wake up call on them not to fear for their reporters lives, but to revamp and reallign their reporting based on responsible journalism since the people are questioning not their “loyalty” but their credibility.
    Above all though, my prayer is that Filipinos will have a rooted moral compass so in the future elections, we will not face these kind of politics and limited choice of candidates. It will be great to see lines of candidates from
    SK to Pres responsible, God fearing, wise, courageous and competetive nominees… Its time for this generation to stop putting its angst on social media but to put their hands and face the daily challenge on changing oneself, their families to the community. It will not be overnight. But by God’s grace it can be done. May the Lord bless our nation, above all no matter who will win, its not the will of man that will prevail but the Sovereign God!

  4. We Filipino people of the Philippines wants a fair report to each and every one of our candidates esp. in this coming elections. Like for example, they arrange for debate of each candidate, and it seems that they do not have any new issue to solve the problem of our country, instead they were repeating about the issue of martial law, which is nothing to do at our present situation. For my opinion it is somewhat demolition campaign against BBM who is leading the independent survey thru social media. We are not born yesterday people.. We people at the social media will never harm anybody physically, the reporters network employee, but we will campaign hard to boycott them as well as their endorsement, if this network will sided one or with favoritism. We know very well, the Philippine History from the beginning or martial law till the Crazy Edsa 1 revolution. In the issue of Martial, i would like to ask these network , one simple questions.. Why Ferdinand Marcos declared Martial Law???

  5. The establishment is clearly applying all means, including dirty tactics and black propaganda against Duterte. ABS-CBN know the risk to its reporters by willingly airing these negative and unfair ads against Duterte. This network deserve this response from Duterte loyalists. Duterte has not receive fair treatment from the oligarch-owned media, especially ABS-CBN in airing his campaign. It seems ABS-CBN placed all their bets against Duterte and even condoning the irresponsible allegations by this fellow Trillanes by repeatedly showing his indecent and vile allegations in the network without asking for a corresponding statement from the side of Duterte.

    • Why not remain neutral and tell Karen Davila not twist candidates words according to her liking , it’s so obvious what she did during the presidential debate she tweeted incorrectly the words that come out from duterte