Palace denies red-baiting journalist group members

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MALACAÑANG on Thursday denied that the government, through the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO), is red-baiting members of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP).

Wala (None), there is no such thing. PCOO will not do that. PNP (Philippine National Police) does not do that also. As explained by (the) PNP chief, it is part of their intelligence work — they receive any info on a particular member… then they do some profiling… If you are not doing anything, they don’t have to worry,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador S. Panelo said in a press briefing, noting that NUJP is probably just being “paranoid.”

The NUJP issued a statement Wednesday against the Philippine News Agency (PNA), a web-based newswire service of the government under the supervision of the PCOO.

In its statement, the NUJP said: “PNA fake news proves gov’t hand in red-tagging.”

“When a number of tabloids came out on January 7 with totally false banner stories on the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines’ supposed links to the Communist Party of the Philippines, we held back from voicing our suspicions of who was behind what was clearly an orchestrated campaign to vilify us and intimidate us into silence.”

The group added, “Now we can say for certain that government is involved in this nefarious effort. Thanks to the Philippine News Agency, which under this administration has been transformed into a paragon of incompetence and fakery masquerading as ‘journalism,’ for providing proof positive with the January 8 article, ‘Red link tag on NUJP not ‘orchestrated’: ex-rebels.’”

NUJP pointed out that the PNA article “follows the style of the canard foisted by the tabloids, which liberally quoted the fantastical and totally fictional account of a supposed ex-rebel and ‘NUJP founder’ who went by the alias ‘Ka Ernesto’ without even bothering to get our side.” — Arjay L. Balinbin