CITY OF NAGA, Bicol Region (BicolToday.com/23-Feb-2013) – The Philippines’ journalists community blew the whistle over reports of Malaysian mishandling of Al Jazeera journalists who have been covering the standoff between Sabah authorities and Filipinos followers of the Sultan of Sulu.
The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) manifested of being dismayed to learn that Malaysian special forces detained and subjected to questioning Al Jazeera journalists Jamela Aisha Alindogan, a Filipina, Steve Chao and cameraman Mark Giddens while they were working on a story about the standoff between authorities in Sabah and followers of the Sultan of Sulu.
BicolToday.com was informed on Friday by NUJP’s common stand. NUJP has its members about 1,000 journalists and media practitioners in the country and has links with the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) which has bigger memberships worldwide.
“While we take cognizance of the diplomatic and security concerns raised by the standoff, it bothers us that journalists going about their legitimate work should be held and questioned for so long,” declared NUJP in a statement sent to BicolToday.com.
“Whatever the implications the standoff may hold, we firmly believe that these can never be an excuse for any attempt to stifle the delivery of accurate and timely information, especially to the people of the Philippines and Malaysia who have a direct stake in what is going on and, thus, deserve to know,” NUJP said.
The journalists group called on the Philippine government to exercise its political will by making a protest over the detention of Alindogan and her colleagues in Malaysia.
“We demand that the Philippine government convey disapproval and concern over the detention of Ms. Alindogan and her colleagues to the Malaysian officials concerned,” demanded NUJP, while calling on their media colleagues in Malaysia to raise concern on media freedom. “We trust our colleagues in Malaysia share our concern and urge them to raise with their authorities the right of media to freely cover this and other significant incidents in the service of the people’s right to know.” [BicolToday.com]
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