The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) has taken to task those who are blaming the media for reporting on the chaotic preparations of the SEA Games.
In a statement released last night, the NUJP said it was ridiculously unacceptable for officials responsible for the disastrous preparation to resort to bashing the media for reporting facts.
The Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (PHISGOC) is under fire from various quarters including participating teams as well as local and foreign media. Filipinos have even taken to the social media to criticize the poor preparations with the hastag #SEAGamesFail trending in the region.
Backlash over logistical blunders, unfinished venues, insufficient food including halal food and general lack of preparedness has plagued the organisers days before the official start of the Games.
Philippines president Rodrigo Duterte has also expressed his disappointment while opposition politicians have question how public money was being spend. The P50 million spend to built the Games cauldron is among the financial decisions being questioned.
Below is the full statement of the NUJP, which was also posted in their official Facebook page.
Don’t blame media for SEA Games woes
It is bad enough when trolls are let loose upon media reporting on the disastrous preparations of the PHISGOC for the 30th SEA Games.
It becomes ridiculously unacceptable when the officials responsible for the disaster resort to bashing media as well, as if the reports on their shortcomings were to blame for the disaster.
Just this Wednesday afternoon, PHISGOC COO Ramon Suzara called out media for what he described as continuously negative reporting, asking to publish instead positive reports and project the country in a good light.
The NUJP wishes to remind Mr. Suzara that the duty of the press has always been to report things as they are, based on verifiable facts, and not to pander to anyone’s perception of what is, or should be.
Attempting to dictate how the media should report the news has no place in a democracy.
The truth is, even if media chose to distort the image, this would do nothing to hide the gargantuan mess the whole world already knows about.
If anything, shining the light of truth on the state of the SEA games preparations can only help ensure that our nation and people be spared from being so humiliated in the future.
For this, we laud the community of independent Filipino journalists who have insisted on reporting on what is happening without fear or favor, despite the heavy online harassment and trolling.
Mabuhay ang malayang pamamahayag!