When a number of tabloids came out on January 7 with totally false banner stories on the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines’ supposed links to the Communist Party of the Philippines, we held back from voicing our suspicions of who was behind what was clearly an orchestrated campaign to vilify us and intimidate us into silence.
Now we can say for certain that government is involved in this nefarious effort.
Thanks to the Philippine News Agency, which under this administration has been transformed into a paragon of incompetence and fakery masquerading as “journalism,” for providing proof positive with the January 8 article, “Red link tag on NUJP not ‘orchestrated’: ex-rebels.”
The PNA article follows the style of the canard foisted by the tabloids, which liberally quoted the fantastical and totally fictional account of a supposed ex-rebel and “NUJP founder” who went by the alias “Ka Ernesto” without even bothering to get our side.
It quotes the purported statement of a purported group of “ex-rebels” called “Kilusan at Alyansa ng mga Dating Rebelde” or KADRE who purportedly “denied that their ‘revelations’ against the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) being linked with the Left is part of an orchestrated or ‘well-planned’ operation to intimidate the latter into silence.”
Strangely, if not surprisingly since this is, after all, a clear work of badly concocted fiction, it claims that Ka Ernesto is a KADRE member yet also says the purported members of this purported group “just want to know the clear answer if the NUJP is a legal front.”
It then makes the ludicrous claim that “‘hardcore elements’ in the NUJP made sure to block the release of their stories and their ‘freedom to expose the truth.’”
We truly wonder how could we have blocked the release of any stories when our officers were, in fact, surprised the morning of January 7 when community outfits across the country called them seeking reactions to the Ka Ernesto story, which whoever was pulling the strings made sure was distributed far and wide.
The PNA fabrication even has KADRE urging NUJP members to “examine the group’s objectives or if there is some king of political agenda to bring down the government and establish a chaotic society,” actually “violent” since the original Tagalog text uses the word “marahas.”
As we pointed out earlier, the Red-tagging will never hold water because the NUJP’s members reflect a broad spectrum of creeds and beliefs united in one common cause – to defend and expand the bounds of freedom of the press and of free expression.
That the state news agency, which is under the supervision of the Presidential Communications Operations Office, saw fit to run this utterly malicious and false story clearly proves that this is, indeed, an orchestrated campaign to vilify and silence not just the NUJP but the independent and critical press, involving no less than the Government of the Republic of the Philippines.
Pathetic as this effort is, we are taking it very seriously as a direct threat by government against the NUJP and independent media and will take what steps necessary to protect our members and our rights.
Again, we say, you will fail. History has proven, tyrants can never silence the truth and suppress freedom of thought and expression. Instead, it is they who will be called to account.
NUJP NATIONAL DIRECTORATE