Tuesday, December 12, 2006

A media gang-up?

Reacting to the water-dousing incident last Saturday, here's a statement from the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines:

We stand by free expression

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines is embarrassed and saddened by the ill-judged and unconscionable behavior shown by some colleagues in the media who ganged up on activist Renato Constantino Jr. during the press conference called by Speaker Jose de Venecia last Saturday.

We particularly deplore the action of columnist Victor Agustin of the Philippine Daily Inquirer who doused Mr. Constantino with water.

We will not begrudge the journalists concerned if they felt that Mr. Constantino was out of line by speaking at a press conference they believed only the media were entitled to attend.

But for them to berate Mr. Constantino and, worse, physically attack him for expressing himself is tragic. For how can we, who invoke press freedom and the right to free expression in the exercise of our calling, even deign to prevent others, especially citizens who actually own these freedoms, from exercising these rights?

The NUJP would like to make its stand clear on this sorry incident. Under no circumstances will we abide by any attempt to stifle free expression from which the freedom of the press merely emanates, especially not through physical means and especially not by one of our own.

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