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