Andanar puts positive spin on PNA blunders
Putting a positive spin on blunders committed by the Philippine News Agency (PNA), Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said criticisms received by the state-run media outfit were a testament to its growing reach.
“How did people complain about the errors? It only shows that PNA is being read again,” he told lawmakers at the hearing of the proposed budget of the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) for 2018.
Andanar admitted that the PNA was the “most neglected” agency under his responsibility. He said it was only in 2016 when the PCOO updated its website, set up for it a mobile app and established its social media presence.
Explaining the latest gaffe involving the PNA’s use of the logo of Dole Food Company to accompany a story about the Department of Labor and Employment, the Palace official said it was a Google search gone wrong.
One PNA staff member received a Department of Labor and Employment press release, and went online to search for a logo of the agency to accompany the article.
“I asked them what happened. They told me we got a PR from [the Department of Labor and Employment], and that PR under our standard protocol shall be uploaded with a logo,” Andanar said without naming the employees involved.
“I asked him, ‘was it true that it’s you who uploaded it?’ He said yes. ‘Where did you get the image?’ He googled and he saw the Dole logo with the pineapple. I asked if he knew the [Department of Labor and Employment] logo. He didn’t know,” the official said.
The page was then submitted for the approval of the editor, who “didn’t double-check the logo.” “That’s why it came up. It was embarrassing,” Andanar said.
He said show-cause orders had been issued to three PNA staff, including the two editors who approved it. He added that the erring staff would be punished with the maximum penalty under civil service rules, once the documentation was done.
Andanar said two other editors had voluntarily resigned after earlier gaffes, including the uploading of a Xinhua opinion piece about the United Nations tribunal ruling on the South China Sea dispute, and the use of wrong images for the Marawi City siege.
“I want everyone in this room to understand: When we came to the PCOO, we inherited the manpower of the Philippine News Agency. We didn’t remove anyone. We just added three editors,” he said.
“Of all PCOO agencies, PNA was the most neglected agency. It used to be the premier news wire agency that other news organizations subscribed to,” Andanar said.
Andanar said his office was doing its best to restore the PNA’s lost glory.
“Everything is new except editors and staff. We trained everyone. We brought our staff abroad to train,” he said.
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