By Joey Natividad
CITY OF NAGA, Bicol Region – The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) denounces the Philippine embassy in Oslo, Norway for preventing the chair of its Europe chapter, ABS-CBN correspondent Macel Ingles, from covering the voting there.
“We fully support Macel’s efforts to seek redress against this clear violation of press freedom and the people’s right to know, as well her right to practice her profession. We urge the Department of Foreign Affairs to give due attention to the complaint she has filed against Ambassador to Oslo Bayani Mercado and the embassy,” NUJP said in a statement released to members and the public.
Macel Ingles had covered the Bicol Region as a journalist several years ago before moving to Norway.
Macel worked as journalist for ABS-CBN Naga and later at ABS-CBN Legaspi as news chief before assuming desk editor position in ABS-CBN Manila.
She is the NUJP-Europe chair at present.
“It is beyond comprehension how the Embassy in Oslo can believe its own accreditation can trump the recognition granted Macel by the Commission on Elections national office, as evidenced by the identity card the poll body issued her in Manila, and a letter from the network certifying her assignment,” NUJP said, informing online news BicolToday.com in Naga City.
“We would probably understand this if Macel was not known to them or there was a serious security issue. But Macel, who has been a resident of Norway for several years, is personally known to Mercado and the embassy staff,” the journalists union added.
According to Macel, the Philippine Embassy in Norway did not post information on media accreditation.
Besides, as she pointed out, “It is also unreasonable to insist on exclusive embassy accreditation when the embassy has not posted any information on media accreditation on its website nor was my inquiry on accreditation to the ambassador’s secretary answered on time.”
NUJP said the embassy knows Macel in person.
“By right, journalists who are properly identified as such should not even need accreditation to perform their duties, although we acknowledge that this requirement is necessary for the orderly conduct of elections,” NUJP said.
NUJP insists Ambassador Mercado and the embassy owe Macel a formal apology.
NUJP urges the DFA to look into this matter as a serious violation of the constitutional guarantee to freedom of the press and of expression, as well as to seriously consider Macel’s question as to whether she had been “singled out by the embassy for reasons other than accreditation.” [BicolToday.com]