2 April 2020
The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines joins our voice to that of our colleagues in the Hugpong Community Broadcasters ng Pilipinas in denouncing the eviction on March 30 of Jonathan Jalon, a reporter of eMedia Production Network Inc., from the Zamboanga City Hall because he did not have the identification card issued by the local government and which journalists covering the Covid-19 emergency are required to wear.
We have been informed by our Zamboanga City chapter that eMedia did apply for accreditation but this had not been acted on at the time Mr. Jalon, who was supposed to cover a press briefing, was asked by security personnel to leave City Hall.
The eviction of Mr. Jalon and the inaction on eMedia’s application for the City Hall IDs are a gross violation of press freedom and prove our contention that requiring journalists to seek other identification papers other than their press credentials is an unnecessary, unreasonable and unconstitutional imposition.
In times of crisis, the least government should do is hamper or prevent the media from delivering the timely and accurate information our people need to be updated about the situation as well as to cope and survive.
The media can become a vital partner of government and the people in confronting challenges such as the health crisis. This is the time when more, not less, independent journalism is needed.