THE National Union of Journalist of the Philippines (NUJP) said it is alarmed over the supposed harassment directed against media organizations accused of biased reporting by supporters of different political candidates.
Among the acts of harassment the NUJP said it has monitored are those allegedly perpetrated by supporters of Partido Demokratiko ng Pilipinas-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) standard bearer Davao city mayor Rodrigo Duterte against TV network ABS-CBN in the wake of the airing of negative ads paid for by Senator Antonio Trillanes IV.
The NUJP also cited the cyber bullying of Vera Files editor Ellen Tordesillas who posted articles on her blog about the existence of undeclared Duterte bank accounts.
"Apart form the bothersome demagoguery-which has normally attended every Philippine election-we are worried about the frenzies of hatred among individuals whose reports and stories some quarters dislike because these casts a light on some aspects of the lives of their choices in the ballot," NUJP chairman Ryan Rosauro said in a statement.
Rosauro also took note of calls in social media for an "Occupy ABS-CBN" in the cities of Davao and Cagayan de Oro.
Posters bearing the words "Occupy Philippines" are seen hanged in Cagayan de Oro city and Duterte supporters are supposed to gather today, May 7, at Pueblo de Oro.
"While the attacks by Duterte sympathizers against the journalists appear unorganized, spontaneous and bereft of official sanction, we welcome the previous instances when Duterte's spokesman Peter Tui Laviña called for calm among their supporters," Rosauro said.
Alleging biased reporting, supporters reportedly harassed numerous times ABS-CBN reporter Raffy Santos while following Duterte in the campaign trail, Jacque Manabat was cursed by a supporter after a man identified her as an ABS-CBN reporter, A camera crew of ABS-CBN reporter Doris Bigornia was thrown punches during a coverage, On Friday morning, May 6, a wreath was laid outside the ABS-CBN station in Davao City bearing the words: “RIP ABS-CBN.”
"A renewed call may be needed at this point given the already heated atmosphere as we move closer to the election day, not just from Duterte's camp but from those of other candidates, as well, since we cannot discount the possibility of rival operators exploiting the situation for their own ends," Rosauro said.
The NUJP said a call for sobriety and calmness will ease the tension and save reporters and journalists from potential harm and coercion.
Safety and security protocols
Rosauro reminded colleagues to follow safety and security protocols in covering Monday’s polls.
"We understand that they are under extremely dangerous situations especially in the efforts to uncover the poll manipulations which to this day has refused to leave our electoral system despite the adoption of automated vote counting. We urged our colleagues to adhere to the tenets of safety and security in going about our work of chronicling the 2016 political exercise," he said.