BY THE NATIONAL UNION OF JOURNALISTS OF THE PHILIPPINES (NUJP)
Posted by Bulatlat
The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines protests in the strongest terms the high-handed and arbitrary ban imposed by Manila Police District director, Sr Supt Danilo Abarzosa on personal interviews with detained Bayan Muna Rep Satur Ocampo .
We do understand that there are some limits imposed on access to detainees, although it is worth mentioning here that Rep. Ocampo is an accused detainee not a convicted prisoner and one who has yet even to go to trial.
But we question Abarzosa’s reasons for the media ban.
First, he professes the lawmaker’s safety. But reporters do not pose any security threat for Ocampo and there is no link between the lawmaker’s exercise to free speech with dangers to his person.
Second, Abarzosa’s comment, “what’s there to ask?” is not just fatuous; it is dangerous because we have a police officer taking over the news judgment functions of editors and reporters. This, in effect, is prior restraint on media.
We would like to believe that Abarzosa’s ill-advised media ban is a unilateral decision and not officially sanctioned or ordered by PNP headquarters. We assert that there is and can be no compelling reason for the ban and demand its immediate lifting.
We also demand that the PNP leadership look into this unfortunate decision by one of its own and impose the necessary disciplinary action on Abarzosa. Inaction in this instance would be tantamount to approving of this abominable policy.
Jose Torres Jr., NUJP chairperson
Rowena Paraan, NUJP secretary-general