Media Union hits PNP’s ‘Gestapo-like’ methods
The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) denounced what it described as the “Gestapo-like” background checks conducted by the Philippine National Police (PNP) on journalists covering Camp Crame.
The NUJP on Thursday said there might be a “more sinister explanation” why the PNP expanded its media accreditation procedure to include sending ‘’spies” to the barangays where the reporters live.
Likening the act to that of Nazi Germany’s secret police, the NUJP said it was “outraged by the Gestapo-like methods the PNP utilized to verify the identities of journalists newly assigned to cover the organization.”
“(A) simple phone call or letter to the editors or management of news outfits … should be enough to establish a reporter’s bona fides,” the media union said. “Surely, one does not need police spies to handle this routine task. Unless, of course, there is a more sinister explanation for this.”
“Our right to privacy, communication and free movement are violated. We demand not only an apology but full disclosure of data collected about us,” the NUJP said.
An Inquirer report on Thursday cited the case of an Inquirer.net reporter who said she learned from village officials in her hometown in Bulacan that a policeman recently went there to ask about her background.
A Manila Times reporter also said a man claiming to be from the Laguna police texted and called him to ask for a meeting since he did not put his exact address in his PNP accreditation form.
Late last year, the PNP’s Public Information Office (PIO) asked the Directorate for Intelligence (DI) to conduct background checks on members of the media, following an incident where a bogus reporter managed to gain entry into a Crame event.
As word about the background checks reached and alarmed Crame reporters earlier this week, PIO head Chief Supt. John Bulalacao on Wednesday said he had called off the DI’s involvement in the verification process.
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