NUJP slams ‘irresponsible statements’ against Arab journalistBy Matikas Santos
INQUIRER.net, Radyo Inquirer 990AM
MANILA, Philippines – The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) condemned government officials on Thursday for making “irresponsible statements” regarding missing Jordanian journalist Baker Abdulla Atyani’s character.
NUJP chairman Nestor Burgos told Thursday in Radyo Inquirer 990 AM that government officials should refrain from making speculations that Atyani “might have links with terrorist groups [or] he might be in cahoots with the Abu Sayyaf,” the group he is believed to be with.
A Manila-based government official, who asked not to be named for lack of authority to speak, had said they “are looking at Atyani as a terrorist cell contact.”
“We condemn these statements especially because there is no concrete evidence or proof to back up these statements,” Burgos said.
“We think this is very dangerous because we are already [assuming] a person as really having links [with the terrorist groups], which could endanger his life,” he added.
Burgos feared that Atyani might be seen by government forces as a member of the armed group which would put his life at risk in the event of an armed encounter.
“It does not follow that if he had previously interviewed terrorist leader Osama Bin Laden that he is also one of them. It’s just part of his job as a journalist, we get all sides as possible in a conflict, but it does not mean that we sympathize with them,” Burgos said.
He also slammed Interior and Local Government Jesse Robredo for saying that Atyani should be banned from the country. Burgos said the statement has no basis because Atyani had not broken any laws.
“Our main concern is his safety as well as that of his crew,” Burgos said. “We hope they are in good condition … and they are not being held against their will.”