The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) cautions government on filing charges against, or even attributing criminal liability to, journalists over the bloody August 23 hostage taking incident in Manila.
The Philippine media have, by and large, acknowledged these lapses and have begun discussing ways to individually and collectively ensure that more care and sensitivity are taken in future coverage of similar delicate situations. Several have made concrete corrective measures like revising or strengthening guidelines on coverage of similar incidents.
These lapses were committed in the course of media’s fulfilling their duty to inform the people of an event of vital public interest. To equate these lapses in judgment with criminal liability and haling journalists to court and threatening imprisonment, are making media the scapegoat for what essentially was government incompetence on all levels.
More seriously, it would set a terrible precedent that would ever dangle like Damocles’ sword over the head of media whenever they strive to fulfill their duties.