China’s claim on journos manipulating WPS videos a 'barefaced lie'

China’s claim on journos manipulating WPS videos a ‘barefaced lie’—Focap

/ 06:16 PM March 27, 2024

MANILA, Philippines — The association of foreign correspondents in the country has condemned China’s foreign ministry’s claim that the media reporting on the West Philippine Sea missions used manipulation tactics to project the Philippines as a victim.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying alluded to Filipino journalists on board Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) vessels during the rotation and resupply missions for the grounded BRP Sierra Madre in Ayungin Shoal as well as the humanitarian missions in Scarborough Shoal.

Hua, in a post on X (formerly Twitter) on Tuesday, said, “Each time the Philippines delivered supplies to the grounded warship, they had many journalists on board and had them manipulate the videos they recorded to make sensational news and project the Philippines as a victim.”


READ: US accuses China of global media manipulation


Hua’s remarks did not sit well with the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines (Focap), calling her claims a “barefaced lie” and an insult to journalists’ integrity.

“The claim that the Philippines ‘had [journalists] manipulate’ their footage is a barefaced lie,” Focap said in a statement.

“A free and independent press reports not what they are told, but what they observe, framed by historical and political context.

“The statements by the Foreign Ministry spokesman and Embassy are an insult to the integrity of journalists and an alarming attempt to muzzle an independent press,” it added, vowing not to be intimidated by such “groundless attempts to smear its members’ reputation.”

Earlier, the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) also took offense to Hua’s claim, pointing out that the Philippine media is a non-party to the row and that state actors could not intervene with editorial decisions.

“The media is not a party to the dispute and should not be demonized by parties for airing contending views on the issue and unflattering reports on incidents in the West Philippine Sea,” the NUJP said in a statement.


“Except for operational and national security considerations, state forces have no say in the production and editorial decisions on these reports,” it added.

READ: NSC: ‘Gentleman’s agreement’ on West PH Sea violates PH sovereignty

Journalists who are members of NUJP and Focap regularly join the maritime missions in the West Philippine Sea under the “transparency initiative” of the government which began under President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. in light of his move to reverse his predecessor Rodrigo Duterte’s pivot to China.

READ: Injured Navy crew recount water cannon ordeal

Members of the press and broadcast media regularly witness the actions of the China Coast Guard such as their routine conduct of what Manila calls “dangerous maneuvers” against its chartered boats and PCG vessels, sometimes resorting to the usage of military-grade lasers and even water cannons that have caused serious injuries to Navy personnel.

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Beijing’s action is based on its assertion of sovereignty in the entire South China Sea, including most of the West Philippine Sea, even if such a claim has been effectively invalidated by a July 2016 international tribunal ruling that stemmed from a case filed by Manila in 2013.

TAGS: China, Journalists, Media, West Philippine Sea

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