Philippines: Police spread false news linking journalists with terrorism

Surigao Chapter City Police have posted malicious content on their official Facebook account accusing the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) of having links with terrorist organisations. The International Federation of Journalists has supported NUJP in condemning the false accusation and urge the authorities to stop all the attempts to silence the media.

Screenshot of Surigao Chapter City Police's Facebook account. Credit: Facebook

Surigao Chapter City Police on May 31 posted a photo captioned: "Ugnayan ng NUJP sa CPP NPA, Bistado!!!" "Layunin ng teroristang CPP-NPA-NDF na pasukin at manipulahin ang mga Media platforms para sa kanilang mga propaganda laban sa Gobyerno. Sa mga propesyonal na mamahayag, mag-ingat sa NUJP /CPP-NPA-NDF!" (Links between NUJP and CPP-NPA exposed! The aim of the terrorist CPP-NPA-NDF is to infiltrate media platforms for their propaganda against the government. To professional journalists, beware of NUJP/CPP-NPA-NDF!).

CPP is the Communist Party of the Philippines, while the New People's Army (NPA) is the military wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP). The NDF is the National Democratic Front (NDF). The photos were originally published on MindaNews in 2013 during an all-women media safety training held in Cagayan de Oro City on March 16-17 that year. The practice of labelling individuals and organisations as Communist sympathisers or “red-tagging” is increasingly used to curtail dissent and free expression the Philippines.

Previously, a social media account under the name Aram dela Cruz on May 13 shared the same photograph to accuse Rowena “Weng” Carranza-Paraan, a former NUJP national chair and head of the citizen journalism arm of the ABS-CBN broadcasting network as having  connections with communist parties. ABS-CBN, the Philippines largest broadcaster known for being critical of the Duterte administration, was forced off air on May 5 after being ordered by the media regulator to stop operations.

NUJP said: “NUJP condemns the malicious post of Surigao City Pulis on their official Facebook. This propaganda puts the lives of the journalists at risk and is a desperate attack to silence the media.”

The IFJ said:“IFJ regrets that the red-tagging strategy is still being used by the government officials to intimidate and silence the media. IFJ urges the authorities to stop the threats against journalists and ensure journalists’ safety.”

For further information contact IFJ Asia - Pacific on [email protected]

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 140 countries

Twitter: @ifjasiapacific, on Facebook: IFJAsiaPacific and Instagram