FOCAP concerned over difficulty accessing Bongbong Marcos, his supporters’ attack on journos
The Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines (FOCAP) on Tuesday expressed concern over the online attacks made against some of their members by supporters of presidential candidate Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.
The FOCAP is also alarmed with the difficulty journalists have experienced in “getting clear, coherent, and substantial explanations on issues imbued with public and national interest.”
“As we commemorate World Press Freedom Day, we call on companies behind social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook (Meta), Instagram, Google, and Youtube to investigate these attacks as possible coordinated behavior and how provocative content by pro-Marcos personalities endangers, smears, and incites hate and possible attacks on independent journalists,” it said in a statement.
According to FOCAP, Washington Post’s Manila correspondent Regine Cabato was branded as “whorenalist” as she was also attacked online over her story about Marcos’ “historical revisionism.”
The FOCAP also cited an incident wherein BBC’s Howard Johnson was threatened by a netizen that his neck will be slashed for “besmirching the Filipinos’ reputation.”
Johnson, in a Batangas campaign rally, asked the former senator how can he be a good president if he would not grant interviews. Marcos just laughed over the journalist’s question.
Aside from these incidents, FOCAP also raised concern over the difficulty in accessing Marcos for an interview about pertinent issues and controversies.
“Despite widely circulated videos of journalists struggling to obtain his side on burning issues, Mr. Marcos has wondered in a recent TV interview why journalists complain that it’s difficult to gain access to him,” the FOCAP said.
The FOCAP pointed out that Marcos had not submitted himself to a free-flowing press conference similar to what other candidates are doing.
It also said Marcos did not join debates and interviews, including the one organized by the Commission on Elections.
“With a week to go before the elections, his media-relations team still has not granted accreditation to news staffers from over a dozen news agencies under FOCAP and does not regularly respond to inquiries about coverage, requests for comment and permissions for use of materials. In some instances, reporters have been roughhoused while trying to get close to him,” the FOCAP added.
The FOCAP said the Marcos camp’s actions “undermine a critical and free press in an Asian bulwark of democracy and have sparked fears of how independent media would be treated under another possible Marcos presidency.”
GMA News Online reached out to the Marcos camp for comment regarding FOCAP’s concerns but it has yet to reply as of posting time.—AOL, GMA News