MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/09 August) — A media organization has challenged Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II to name the media groups that are supposedly funded by influential drug lords to derail the administration’s campaign against illegal drugs.
In a statement Monday, the National Union of Journalists said Aguirre should provide evidence and file charges against these media groups if the evidence warrants it.
“No, we are not saying he is lying. We are saying that, by casting such a broad assertion against media without presenting any proof, Mr. Aguirre is not only committing a serious injustice, he is endangering all journalists,” the statement said.
NUJP noted that when pressed by the Philippine Daily Inquirer for details about his claim, all Aguirre could offer was: “No details yet of media campaign funded by drug money. Many more big politicians will be exposed.”
The group said Aguirre’s claims were worse than saying that most of the over 170 journalists who have been murdered since 1986 deserved their fates because they were “corrupt.”
“In effect, what Mr. Aguirre has done is spread a deadly rumor that could place any and all journalists in the cross-sights of those responsible for the orgy of drug-related extrajudicial killings that continue to flood our streets with blood,” the statement said.
It said the official got it wrong if he meant to frighten media shying away from its role of informing the people of what is happening to the country.
“The independent Philippine media have been through worse and refuse to be silenced,” it said.
“We therefore dare him to prove himself better than a dangerous neighborhood gossip, a disgrace to his office, to the government he serves, and to the people.
“For our part, we will consult legal experts to explore what recourse we may have against a government official who can so recklessly endanger us,” it added. (MindaNews)