BELOW is a reprint of the statement issued by the National Press Club as the global media community yesterday celebrated World Press Freedom Day.
All NPC-affiliated organizations and members are encouraged to discuss its importance among themselves and thru their local newspapers, radio broadcast and local television programs to help broaden public discussion on the issue of media corruption. Here it is:
“On the occasion of the celebration of the World Press Freedom Day on May 3, 2019, the National Press Club of the Philippines (NPC), its affiliated media organizations all over the country, as well as other national media organizations committed in upholding genuine press freedom and the practice of journalism anchored on the Journalist’s Code of Ethics, hereby issue this statement. This is in the light of recent revelations that have clearly compromised the nobleness of journalism as a profession and its graver consequence, the stability of Philippine democracy.
“For a very long time now, the NPC has been accused and villified by its critics and even by our more “respectable” colleagues from the profession of being “corrupt” for allegedly engaging in all sorts of unethical practices; its members and officers they derisively describe as “below standard” media practitioners.
“The NPC, its affiliated media organizations and the other national media organizations present today, are fully aware of the complexity of the problems plaguing the profession. But continuously inspired by the notion of creating an environment conducive to the practice of a free but responsible and credible press, we are addressing these problems individually and collectively, one problem at a time.
“However, we recognize that today, there is a far urgent and pressing problem that needs to be exposed and to be fought against by all the component members of the press — if Philippine media, as an institution, is to survive, regain the trust of our people and contribute in the promotion of national unity and the strengthening of our democracy.
“And here, we are referring to the fact that for many years now, other media organizations are directly receiving money from foreign sources to fund their activities, particularly from front organizations identified with the United States’ Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and from non-government organizations (NGOs) based in Europe.
“From the now available facts, we refer to Rappler, Vera Files, Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR), Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) and, the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP), as direct beneficiaries of foreign largesse running in the millions of pesos each year.
“The issue of the legality and constitutionality of such sordid practices aside, they are ethically indefensible and morally reprehensible.
“For how does one defend the fact that while these groups, collectively and individually, fatten themselves from the millions of pesos they regularly receive as paid partners of foreign interests, thousands more — the rest of us — remain mired in poverty and financial difficulties as we daily fulfill our obligations and responsibilities as “journalists.”
“For those involved, if what they did is not only media corruption at its worst (that can also be labeled as “treason”) we do not know what it is.
“Yes, press freedom is now “under siege” in the Philippines, as these groups regularly tell us. And now we know why.
“Our press freedom and by extension, our democracy, is under siege and now in deep crisis not because of Malacañang and its alleged “repression” of the press.
“Philippine media is now in deep crisis because, some in our midst—unfortunately those who styled themselves as God’s gift to our profession—have wittingly and knowingly committed the worst form of corruption when they started accepting what amounts to as bribe money from foreign interests.
“In exchange for money, they have bastardized the practice of our profession thru their distorted and one-sided presentation of “facts”......on a host of issues on a daily basis. The result is a people divided, a government unable to focus on its job of good governance and a profession— our profession— fast losing its credibility and standing as a pillar of our democracy.
“And so, as we join in the celebration of the World Press Freedom Day, we call on all self-respecting members of the Philippine media not to lose hope. Let us turn this adversity into opportunity!
“Rally behind the National Press Club! Together, we shall be able to cast away these foreign puppets in our midst who have greatly damaged the name and prestige of the media profession in our country!
“Wakasan ang pagkukunwari sa hanay ng media! Ibandila ang katotohanan!
“MABUHAY ANG MALAYANG PAMAMAHAYAG!”