NUJP denounces Aquino’s cavalierly attitude, vows not to remain silentBy Maila Ager
MANILA, Philippines – The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) has called on the media not to remain silent on President Benigno Aquino III’s criticisms and not to take it sitting down “when he deigns to tell us how to go about our work and what to put into it.”
“We shall not dwell on the propriety or correctness of Mr. Aquino’s personal attack on (Noli) De Castro for switching from media to politics and back again and seemingly mixing up the two. But we shall not remain silent when he (Aquino) accuses us, not just of ‘negativity and sensationalism,’ but of actually robbing our people of ‘the chance and the capacity to dream’,” the NUJP said in a statement issued Tuesday.
De Castro was an apparent subject of the President’s attack during last week’s silver anniversary of ABS-CBN’s primetime news program, “TV Patrol.”
De Castro was Vice President during the administration of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. He is now one of “TV Patrol’s” main news anchors.
The NUJP also denounced Aquino’s “cavalierly (attitude)” when he asked the press to couch commentary in “properly contextualized facts” and to also look at the crimes being solved and not at crime rates, noting that the government was doing everything to address the problem.
“Such gall given how he cavalierly passed off old crime solution figures as current accomplishments in his Sona (state of the nation address) at the same time the PNP (Philippine National Police) was reporting a crime surge in Metro Manila,” it said.
As for the President’s insistence that the media should highlight the robust economy, the NUJP said, “How can we do that and ignore our people’s voice in survey after survey attesting to growing poorer and experiencing hunger more often, something we journalists are not immune to, by the way?”
“And pray do tell us, Mr. Aquino, of a better way to rob people of the ‘chance and capacity to dream’ than to continue depriving them of the justice for the extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, media murders and all other human-rights violations under your watch alone?”
“Or, dare we say, for boasting of completing agrarian reform under your watch when the farmers of Luisita continue to be deprived?” the group added.
Instead of demanding the media to report a story the way Aquino sees it, the NUJP said the President “should take off his rose-tinted glasses and descend from the heights to walk through the muck and the grime that the people he professes to serve live in.”
“Call it what you will, Mr. Aquino, but we, the truly independent Philippine press, will not acquiesce to your wish that we sugarcoat the reality that we not only see and witness but also live in.”
“That would be, in the very words you use, albeit misguidedly, truly negativism,” the NUJP added.