Hong Kong journalists ‘crossed line’-A A +A
Monday, October 7, 2013
MANILA (Updated) -- Malacañang hailed on Monday the Indonesian security forces for their immediate action against journalists from Hong Kong who allegedly "crossed the line" for shouting questions to President Benigno Aquino III.
In an interview, Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office Secretary Ricky Carandang said the Indonesian security forces deemed it fit to have the journalists removed for "rude" behavior in questioning Aquino as he was about to lead the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) CEO Summit held on Sunday in Bali, Indonesia.
"As a former journalist, I know what it's like to aggressively question a subject. The behavior of those reporters crossed the line from mere questioning to heckling and was even construed by Indonesian security personnel assigned to the President as a potential physical threat to him so they took what they believe was appropriate action," said Carandang, who was with the President in Bali.
"And you know, we're all from the same industry. You would know how it is when you ask aggressive questions. There’s a line that can be crossed. And the assessment of the security, which was granted to us by Indonesia was that they were potentially a threat; and so they took the appropriate action," he added.
The journalists from Hong Kong were trying to ask Aquino questions about the 2010 hostage crisis in Manila at the time. Aquino reportedly ignored the questions.
Reporters from Now TV, Radio Television Hong Kong and Commercial Radio asked Aquino if he would meet Hong Kong leader Leung Chun-ying and apologize to the families of the victims.
"Will you apologize to Hong Kong people for their real tragedy?" a woman reporter asked, TV footage showed. "Will you give an answer? It has been three years," she said.
"So you are ignoring Hong Kong people, right?" another reporter asked.
After the event, Indonesian authorities revoked the permit of the journalist to cover the event.
Carandang said that the President remained "calm" during the commotion.
"The President remained calm throughout. As he was walking into the plenary session with the CEOs, he was accosted very rudely and aggressively by a number of people claiming to be journalists from Hong Kong," he said.
Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda, in a news briefing in Malacañang, said that the Aquino administration did not want to make a big fuss out of it.
Asked if the Palace sees the actions of the Hong Kong journalists as disrespect also to the Filipinos as a whole, he said, "I don't wanna comment on that because it might, you know, unnecessarily cause further tension between Hong Kong and the Philippines."
"It's a fact that something happened, something that Indonesian authorities felt was beyond civility, so we'll just leave it at that."
Lacierda also said that there was no plan to declare those foreign journalists as persona non grata. (SDR/Sunnex)