The government-run Philippine News Agency (PNA) has been accused of pedalling “fake news” by the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP).
The union today (Monday, May 22) slapped down a report on the PNA that claimed 95 out of 105 nations agreed there were no extrajudicial killings (EJK) in the Philippines.
The story was in response to the country’s recent Universal Period Review (UPR) at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.
The article was published on May 15, with the headline: “95 nations in 3rd UPR convinced no EJKs in PHL.” The story was updated a few days later under the title: “PHL’s human rights situation commended at UPR” — neither of which were accurate. As we reported, China was a lone voice to express support for the Duterte administration.
The PNA was quoting Interior and Local Government Assistant Secretary Epimaco Densing III, who said that 95 nations were convinced that there were no EJKs in the Philippines. However, Densing is not on record as making such claim.
What he did say was that they were “very confident” that other countries were convinced by the presentation about the human rights situation in the country.
The NUJP wants the PNA to explain what happened, adding that it’s “a news agency funded by our taxes and which we, therefore, technically own”.
“We do understand the need for PNA and other state-affiliated outfits to project as strongly as possible the government’s side on current issues and controversies. But does that include peddling falsehood?” it said in a statement.
“Our concern over the use of PNA to legitimise fake news also stems from the possible implications this poses on the professional reputations and yes, the safety of our many upright colleagues who work for the venerable news agency and continue, despite the challenges they face, to keep it reputable and worthy of people’s trust.”