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NUJP hits Thinking Pinoy for ‘endangering photog’, blogger insists Aznar compromised soldiers

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) on Tuesday condemned blog site Thinking Pinoy and its publisher RJ Nieto for endangering the life of photojournalist Jes Aznar for "unfounded reasons."

"We condemn Thinking Pinoy and Mr. Nieto for endangering a journalist, more so on unfounded reasons.  We likewise condemn those who threaten our colleague who was simply doing his job," NUJP said in an issued statement.

In a blog post, Nieto accused Aznar of posting real time video of government snipers in the middle of an encounter against terrorist group Maute in Marawi City, compromising the safety and tactical advantage of government forces.

Nieto said that the photojournalist's video, posted May 25, was less than 48 hours old when it was uploaded in Instagram.

He added that Aznar's first post on the Marawi clash was on May 25, suggesting that the video was taken and posted on the same day.

However, NUJP said that it was a mistaken accusation.

"Aznar has repeatedly clarified he posted the photo in question when they were already out of the area, thus he could not have endangered the soldiers at that time," it said.

"He also said that he only had good intentions in posting the photo on his Facebook social media account, such as showing the public how active the government troops were in quelling the Maute and Abu Sayyaf," it added.

Aznar's work appears, among others, in the New York Times and is also carried by international photo agencies.

The group also commended the journalist for following the events in the war-torn city and for keeping the people abreast with developments on the ground.

Threat of lawsuit

In an email to GMA News Online, Nieto maintained that he was basing his statement on the May 25 timestamp in Aznar's first Instagram post, two days after the conflict in Marawi City began.

While giving Aznar the benefit of the doubt, he opined that the video "gave the terrorists insights on AFP's entry points."

Aznar had earlier threatened to file a lawsuit against Nieto over the issue, the publisher said.

"Aznar earlier threatened me with a lawsuit, a lawsuit that I fully welcome," he said.

Nieto replied to the threat by emphasizing the Armed Forces of the Philippines' request for the public to refrain from posting on social media information that may exacerbate the situation in Marawi City.

"Aznar's post exacerbated the situation as it limited AFP's tactical options vis-a-vis its Marawi operations," he said. —NB/KVD, GMA News