Originally published on CMFR website on 22 February 2019.
PRESIDENTIAL COMMUNICATIONS Operations Office (PCOO) Undersecretary Joel Egco, who is also Executive Director of the Presidential Task Force on Media Safety, said during a meeting with the Filipino community during its “Press Freedom Caravan” in Brussels, Belgium that “irresponsible journalism” is to blame for the negative reports about the Philippines. He specifically mentioned the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP), the Center for Media Freedom & Responsibility (CMFR) and the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) as responsible for it.
Mr. Egco should look at his own house, the PCOO, which in a span of only two years has gained a reputation for the worst form of irresponsibility of all–inaccuracy and the dissemination of false information, which it pretends to be journalism but is actually only a form of public relations. For his information, truth telling is a fundamental responsibility of all journalism as a discipline of verification. But that is a principle that escapes the system with which he is affiliated.
His own statement about NUJP and CMFR’s being supposedly responsible for “negative reports” about the Philippines is itself another form of disinformation. As institutions, neither NUJP nor CMFR publish reports about the Philippines, NUJP being an organization of journalists, and CMFR being a media advocacy group committed to the defense of press freedom and free expression. CMFR only reports and issues alerts and monitors. Only PCIJ publishes reports about issues in the news, for which it has gained a sterling reputation for quality report. All reports issued by the three groups go through the verification process that is at the heart of all true journalism, and in addition are subjected to the gate-keeping processes of the publications it serves.
Mr. Egco can obviously benefit from further education in the ethics and professional standards of journalism, although it may be a bit too late.