Journalists attacked on social media, NUJP urges to take action

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) condemned the social media attacks allegedly made by pro-government supporters on two female journalists including a freelancer Gretchen Malalad and Al Jazeera correspondent Jamela Alindogan-Caudron for collaborating with the Time magazine and urging President Rodrigo Duterte to investigate threats media killings and penalise the perpetrators.

While Malalad was called a traitor on social media by many for assisting TIME Magazine on a report on deaths related to the anti-drug war, Alindogan received threats for her reporting on the military operation against the Abu Sayyaf.

In a statement made on Monday (September 19) Chairperson of NUJP Ryan Rosauro said the attacks against the two on Facebook “have gone beyond legitimate criticism of their professional output to outright threats on their persons.” They have been receiving rape threats and harm to their families. Rosauro said they welcome engagement, including criticism from the audience however he made it clear that they won’t take threats lightly.

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and NUJP called on Palace Communications Secretary Martin Andanar on Tuesday (September 20) to take action against threats thrown at journalists, specifically Malalad and Alindogan and ensure none of these are carried out. The NUJP has also urged journalists to report any and all threats directed against them for proper documentation and action by law enforcement bodies.

On September 10, Duterte said that it is the sworn duty of media to ask questions. It is also their duty to their country to provide “true and accurate” reports, he added.

NUJP vowed to continue to push against efforts that threaten press freedom in the Philippines.

“It is our duty to report events as faithfully as we can. To blame us for the consequences of what those we cover utter or do is tantamount to asking us to abrogate our duties and be silent. This we cannot and will never do,” said Rosauro.

This incident again brings to light the horrific environment of Philippines for practicing journalists where around 145 media workers have been killed since 1990.

This incident demonstrates the need to ensure the protection of journalists under the special task force.

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