Mar 16, 2013

Sulu Invade Sabah - Filipino Journalists Media Stick To The Journalist’s Code of Ethics

Sulu Invade Sabah
Filipino Journalists & Media
Stick To The Journalist’s Code of Ethics


Amazing tales spun in Manila
By Roy Goh 15 March 2013

THEIR OWN AGENDA: Some media in the Philippines are bent on twisting facts over the conflict

LAHAD DATU: OUTLANDISH stories are coming out in the Philippines about what's happening here.

Allegations of security forces torturing villagers, neglecting evacuees, pointing their guns at journalists at checkpoints and banning them from entering a media centre at Felda Sahabat are just some that have surfaced.

There was even a doctored photo of soldiers firing mortars, distributed by the Defence Ministry, which had been superimposed with the photo of a child hiding behind a pillar in an online portal in the Philippines and supposed interviews with fleeing Filipinos who claimed they were shot at after being caught by the authorities.

These allegations are so far from the truth, however, that even Filipino journalists covering Ops Daulat here are shaking their heads in disbelief at what has been written.

If it is anything to go by, we were sitting on the steps drinking coffee and eating biscuits offered by a policeman at the Wifi-equipped media centre yesterday morning.

This after the journalists drove 110km in a four-wheel-drive vehicle and went through four check points along the way without anyone pointing a gun at them.

The allegations have made Filipino journalists here wonder from where their peers have been getting their stories from.

The daily press conferences by Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Ismail Omar, Armed Forces chief Gen Tan Sri Zulkifeli Mohd Zin, Sabah Police Commissioner Datuk Hamza Taib and army Division 1 commander Maj-Gen Mohd Zaki Mokhtar has been a focal point for journalists to get updates on the latest on the ongoing operation to eliminate the threat from the terrorists.

Confirmed and factual information provided through the press conferences have been consistent.

Any doubts about whether the security forces were being truthful in the information being given to the media were cleared up when they revealed that a teenager was killed by a team patrolling the Sungai Bilis area, located between the two hot spots of Kampung Tanjung Batu and Kampung Tanduo, the first village occupied by the armed men after they landed there on Feb 12.

If there is any truth to claims of Malaysian forces being trigger-happy, then why are 10 of our men dead? Photographs provided by the security forces of action at ground zero, too, have given some insight on the risks they face in tracking down the enemy.

Apart from barring the media from entering the "red zones", for the sake of their own safety, it's fair game elsewhere.

Some journalists did complain they were not able to speak to some of the displaced villagers, except for taking visuals but there were those who found their way through to them.

There is truth that life is not easy for the displaced villagers who are now in three relief centres in the oil palm plantation.

Help has been provided in the form of cash, food, medical supplies, shelter and efforts are also under way to get their children to continue with their studies, but home is where their hearts are.

Interviews by journalists covering the operation, however, have yet to find anyone complaining about the security forces.

Like every other journalist, all those at Felda Sahabat are eager to enter ground zero and see for themselves what had happened. For now, however, the waiting game continues

Journalists filing their reports at the media centre
in Felda Residence Sahabat in Kampung Tungku, Lahad Datu.

Journalist’s Code of Ethics (Philippines)
Formulated by Philippine Press Institute and National Press Club

1. I shall scrupulously report and interpret the news, taking care not to suppress essential facts or to distort the truth by omission or improper emphasis. I recognise the duty to air the other side and the duty to correct substantive errors promptly.

2. I shall not violate confidential information or material given me in the exercise of my calling.

3. I shall resort only to fair and honest methods in my effort to obtain news, photographs and/or documents, and shall properly identify myself as a representative of the press when obtaining any personal interview intended for publication.

4. I shall refrain from writing reports which will adversely affect a private reputation unless the public interest justifies it. At the same time, I shall fight vigorously for public access to information.

5. I shall not let personal motives or interests influence me in the performance of my duties; nor shall I accept or offer any present, gift or other consideration of a nature which may cast doubt on my professional integrity.

6. I shall not commit any act of plagiarism.

7. I shall not in any manner ridicule, cast aspersions on, or degrade any person by reason of sex, creed, religious belief, political conviction, cultural and ethnic origin.

8. I shall presume persons accused of crime of being innocent until proven otherwise. I shall exercise caution in publishing names of minors and women involved in criminal cases so that they may not unjustly lose their standing in society.

9. I shall not take unfair advantage of fellow journalists.

10. I shall accept only such tasks as are compatible with the integrity and dignity of my profession, invoking the ‘conscience clause’ when duties imposed on me conflict with the voice of my conscience.

11. I shall comport myself in public or while performing my duties as journalist in such manner as to maintain the dignity of my profession. When in doubt, decency should be my watch word.

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