NUJP: ‘Superbody’ welcomed but will it stop media killings?
The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) welcomed the move of the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte to create a task force that will look into the killings of journalists in the country.
NUJP Chairman Ryan Rosauro said that while the creation of the superbody is a “positive development,” the statements of government officials that seem to justify the killings of journalists because they are allegedly corrupt or drug lord coddlers may not put a stop to the killings.
“We are afraid, just as the insinuation that corruption is justification enough to commit murder, these sweeping statements about media workers in drugs — while doubtless there indeed may be rogues, just as in any sector of society — could be used as a handy justification by those who seek to silence independent and critical journalists,” Rosauro said in a statement issued on Tuesday.
Philippine National Police Director General Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa was quoted as saying that some members of the media are either drug users or protector of drug lords.
Asked about his reaction to the PNP chief’s statement, Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said that Dela Rosa may have “intelligence reports” that can confirm it.
“Kung sinabi po niya ‘yun (If he said that), then probably he has intelligence reports … that can confirm that,” Abella said in an interview on state-run dzRB last Saturday.
But Rosauro said that the statements made by Dela Rosa and Abella “were sweeping enough to cast a pall of suspicion on a whole profession.”
He challenged Dela Rosa and Abella to file a case if there is evidence that would show a media worker’s involvement with illegal drugs.
“We therefore challenge General Dela Rosa and Secretary Abella, if there is truly evidence against any media worker involved in crime or protecting syndicates of any kind, to file the appropriate charges in court and let justice take its course, lest those whose only crime is to dig for the truth and serve the people’s right to know end up silenced with no way to refute trumped up accusations scrawled on cardboard placards,” Rosauro said. JE/rga
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