Thai press club to PH gov’t: Protect journalists from attacks
THE Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand (FCCT) has expressed its support for two Reuters reporters in the Philippines who were attacked and threatened online for writing about President Rodrigo Duterte’s controversial Hitler remarks.
The FCCT, which banners itself as the largest and oldest press club in Southeast Asia, called on the Philippine government to discourage the President’s die-hard supporters from threatening journalists and to swiftly act to protect the latter from attacks.
“The professional membership of the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand is disturbed to learn of a social media campaign of vilification against two journalists working for the Reuters news agency in the Philippines… Journalists should be allowed to do their jobs without being subjected to hate campaigns and incitements to attack them, on social media or anywhere else,” the FCCT said in a statement.
Reuters reporters Karen Lema and Manuel Mogato became the subjects of memes, their photos included, which tagged them as “the real culprits behind the fuss” over Duterte’s controversial remarks that drew parallels between Adolf Hitler’s killing of Jews and the bloody war on drugs.
The viral posts called for punitive action against the journalists and controls on the freedom of the press.
The FCCT noted that critical criticism of a journalist’s work was different from actually shooting the messenger.
“All journalists expect their work to be [criticized], sometimes in very strong terms, but there is a clear line between challenging their reporting and attacking the journalists themselves. The professional membership of the FCCT urges the government of the Philippines to discourage its supporters from targeting journalists in this way, and to ensure all media workers are protected from physical attack,” the group added.
Duterte earlier called on his supporters not to threaten journalists, but the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines lamented that the President’s appeal seemed to have fallen on deaf ears.
After accusing the media again of taking him out of context, Duterte nevertheless apologized to the Jews for his controversial remarks which drew condemnation from Jewish leaders who demanded that he retract them and apologize./rga
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