Focap, NUJP lash back at China embassy, foreign ministry

Focap, NUJP lash back at China embassy, foreign ministry

/ 05:40 AM March 28, 2024

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying. REUTERS

Two media organizations lashed back at the Chinese foreign ministry for its “insinuation” that recent reports on the Chinese harassment of Filipino vessels in the West Philippine Sea had involved video manipulation and sensationalism to deliberately project the Philippines as a victim.

The Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines (Focap) and National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) said they were taking offense at the accusation, calling it an “insult” to the independence and integrity of journalists covering Philippine maritime missions in the West Philippine Sea and the incidents involving Chinese vessels.


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


They were referring to statements made by the foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying and the Chinese Embassy in Manila that journalists, under government orders, “manipulate the videos they recorded” in the disputed waters to “project the Philippines as a victim.”

Footage vetted

“Focap takes deep offense at the insinuation that the press is a ‘troublemaker’ and in cahoots with the government to forward a political agenda,” the group said in a statement on Wednesday.

“China’s claim that the Philippines had journalists manipulate their footage is a barefaced lie,” said Focap, which had some of its members embedded in the Philippine maritime missions.

“A free and independent press reports not what they are told but what they observe, framed by historical and political context. The footage seen in the press is vetted by multiple sources and newsrooms,” said Focap, an organization founded in 1974 and includes both Filipino and foreign journalists as members.

“The statements by the (Chinese) foreign ministry spokesman and embassy are an insult to the integrity of journalists and an alarming attempt to muzzle an independent press,” it said. “Focap will not be intimidated by threats and groundless attempts to smear its members’ reputation. We will continue to courageously cover developments and the impact of events in the South China Sea and across the region.”

“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,” NUJP said.


‘Who’s troublemaker?’

“Except for operational and national security considerations, state forces have no say in the production and editorial decisions on these reports,” said NUJP in a statement of its own on Wednesday,’’ the media union added.

The assailed statements were shared by the Chinese Embassy on its social media account on Tuesday.

One statement attributed to the Chinese foreign ministry read: “Who is the troublemaker? 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.”

In another statement, the ministry said the Philippine government had “promised to tow away ASAP the warship it grounded at Ren’ai Jiao in 1999 but has never honored its word.”

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It was referring to the BRP Sierra Madre which now serves as a Philippine military outpost at Ayungin (Second Thomas) Shoal.

For comprehensive coverage, in-depth analysis, and the latest updates on the West Philippine Sea issue, visit our special site here. Stay informed with articles, videos, and expert opinions.

TAGS: China, Chinese aggression, Focap, West Philippine Sea

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