Me­dia didn’t cre­ate con­tro­versy in anti-il­le­gal drug cam­paign

The Freeman - - OPINION -

This year's cel­e­bra­tion of the Cebu Press Free­dom Week, which kicks off to­day, has been sad­dled with con­cerns about the re­ported re­lease of a Philip­pine Na­tional Po­lice or­der that pro­hibits re­porters from ac­cess­ing spot re­ports.

Many be­lieve the or­der has stemmed from pub­lic crit­i­cisms over the po­lice’s con­tro­ver­sial han­dling of the gov­ern­ment's in­ten­si­fied war against il­le­gal drug trade. Crit­ics claim the cam­paign has been tainted with cases of ex­tra­ju­di­cial killings.

How­ever, the PNP lead­er­ship was quick to deny that there is an or­der ban­ning me­dia from ob­tain­ing spot re­ports from po­lice sta­tions. It said the me­dia can still get spot re­ports for the sake of trans­parency and ac­count­abil­ity.

“The PNP clar­i­fied that there is no di­rec­tive from PNP Chief Po­lice Di­rec­tor Gen­eral Ron­ald Dela Rosa pro­hibit­ing the mem­bers of the me­dia to ac­cess re­ports. The PNP lead­er­ship has not is­sued a new me­moran­dum on poli­cies and guide­lines re­lated to crim­i­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion and me­dia re­la­tions,” stated the press state­ment from the PNP In­for­ma­tion Of­fice.

Grant­ing the spot re­port ban is true, such can un­de­ni­ably af­fect the work of jour­nal­ists, es­pe­cially in their ef­fort to present a more de­tailed story be­cause spot re­ports have more in­for­ma­tion about a po­lice op­er­a­tion than those press re­leases.

Jour­nal­ists are just do­ing their work. Since they just re­port what re­ally hap­pened, they have ab­so­lutely noth­ing to do with those al­le­ga­tions of ex­tra­ju­di­cial killings al­legedly com­mit­ted by the po­lice.

Their only fault is that they, as part of their job, tend to plunge into more in­ves­tiga­tive work once a po­lice op­er­a­tion be­comes con­tro­ver­sial but that’s only be­cause of their drive to present a con­crete and cred­i­ble story to the pub­lic.

Lest the au­thor­i­ties for­get, jour­nal­ists did not cause any storm sur­round­ing the death of those al­leged vic­tims of ex­tra­ju­di­cial killings. It’s the way the po­lice han­dle dur­ing their oper­a­tions that cre­ates con­tro­versy.

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