The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) condemns the malicious and deplorable use of photographs of the first all-women media safety training held in the Philippines to red-tag our former chairperson, colleagues and the NUJP.

A social media post by a certain Aram dela Cruz on May 13 showed photographs of Rowena “Weng” Carranza-Paraan and other women in what appears to be a forested area surrounding what looks like an injured man.

Photo courtesy of Vic Kintanar/Mindanews

The photographs were captioned: “Ano ang tunay na ugnayan ni Rowena Paraan (NUJP, Head ng Bayan Mo Ipatrol Mo, ng ABS-CBN” at ng CPP-NPA-NDF. Alam ba ito ng ABS-CBN?” (What is the real connection between Paraan and the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front. Does ABS-CBN know this?)”

Paraan, former NUJP national chair, is head of the citizen journalism arm of broacasting network ABS-CBN which was shut down by the government after its franchise expired.

The news organization MindaNews pointed out in a statement that the photographaphs were lifted from its website showing Paraan and other women journalists during an all-women media safety training held in Cagayan de Oro City on March 16-17, 2013.

The historic training organized by the NUJP with Paraan as lead trainer included simulation exercises on administering first aid to injured persons.

The training also included sessions facilitated by officials of the Army’s 4th Infantry Division.

The NUJP has been holding media safety trainings all over the country for more than a decade amid the continued killing of media workers, intensified attacks and increased cases of harassment against the media.

Thousands of media workers have attended these trainings which have helped colleagues in covering disasters, armed conflicts, outbreaks of diseases and personal safety and security.

The trainings include safety and security tips during and outside of coverages and simulation exercises conducted by trainers. The trainers and facilitators are composed of journalists, security experts, police and military officials.

It is utterly shameless but dangerous that a historic media safety training aimed at protecting and ensuring the safety of media workers is being used to malign, threaten and put journalists and the NUJP in danger.

Amid, a snowballing uproar in the shutting down of broadcasting operations of ABS-CBN, the red-tagging on the independent media and those actively pushing for the renewal of the network’s franchise are intensifying.

We call on colleagues to close ranks and expose and condemn these desperate malicious attacks.

We call on the people to speak out and continue our fight in defense of the press and the people’s right to know.

National Directorate