The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) today reminded President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo that it is the media’s duty is to report the news without any agenda.
The media organization issued the statement after Arroyo invited executives of several media outfits to Malacañang to solicit their help for the last three years of her administration, during which she hopes to build her “legacy.”
“We would like to remind Ms. Arroyo that media’s role – nay, duty – is to report events, good or bad, as they happen and not to spin the news to suit anyone’s agenda, much less conform to anyone’s concept of what balanced reporting, balanced commentary and editorial focus should be,” the NUJP said.
During the meeting, Arroyo reportedly said the media can help the government “by balanced reporting based on verified facts, constructive commentary on public issues, and editorial focus on news that matters to the lives and livelihood of ordinary Filipinos.”
While saying there is nothing wrong with seeking media’s help in pursuing a better future for the nation, the NUJP said there is “something amiss” in the president’s attempt “to suggest how media should choose, present and deliver the news.”
“Our sole responsibility is to the people, and their right to free access to the information they need to decide how to shape their future as individuals and as a nation,” the statement added.
The NUJP also recalled the Arroyo administration’s repeated attempt to suppress information and attempts to muzzle the media. It also complained that the administration tended to blame the journalists when reportage does not conform to the image Arroyo and her people wish to project.
The NUJP also brought up in its statement the killing of journalists: “Neither has Ms. Arroyo acted decisively to stem the most extreme form of censorship – the murder of journalists – that has claimed the lives of 52 since she came to power, the highest tally under any sitting president. And she has three more years to go.”
Their advice to Arroyo: “All she has to do is exercise genuine good governance and be transparent. Whether she does so or not, the media will do its part, as always, by performing its duty of reporting events as they happen.”