MANILA - The Europe chapter of the National Union of Journalists in the Philippines (NUJP) slammed Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Undersecretary Joel Egco for blaming some media outfits for negative reports about the Philippines.
"Do not shoot the messengers for doing their jobs, Usec. Egco. As journalists, we are committed to reporting what is true and not to what the Palace and the PCOO want to hear or read. We are also as committed to the public right to know. We cannot, and will never, waver on these," NUJP-Europe chair Macel Ingles said in a statement.
She added, "Sending out messages to the Filipino community in Europe that journalists are to blame for how other countries perceive the Philippines is false, malicious and an unacceptable attack on press freedom."
Egco, during a "press caravan" with the Filipino community in Belgium, accused the NUJP, Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR), and the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) of "systematically reporting negative stories about the Philippines."
He said they are conducting the "press caravan" to set the record straight that practicing journalism in the Philippines is safe.
“I shall say that journalists in the Philippines are safer now than before because of this task force, not because of me, but because of the mechanism laid out by the task force,” he said.
Egco also serves as the executive director of the Presidential Task Force on Media Security.
In a statement, media watchdog CMFR also denounced Egco's statement, saying he must set his own house in order.
"The PCOO, which in a span of only 2 years has gained a reputation for the worst form of irresponsibility of all - inaccuracy and the dissemination of false information, which it pretends to be journalism but is actually only a form of public relations," CMFR said.
CMFR said Egco's statement is itself a form of disinformation.
"As institutions, neither NUJP nor CMFR publish reports about the Philippines, NUJP being an organization of journalists, and CMFR being a media advocacy group committed to the defense of press freedom and free expression... Only PCIJ publishes reports about issues in the news, for which it has gained a sterling reputation for quality report," the statement read.
CMFR added, "Mr. Egco can obviously benefit from further education in the ethics and professional standards of journalism, although it may be a bit too late." - with report from Raquel Bernal-Crisostomo, ABS-CBN Europe News Bureau