State-run news agency apologizes for errors

Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 30 2017 06:49 PM

MANILA – State-run Philippine News Agency (PNA) on Tuesday apologized for its recent errors in its stories.

The PNA drew flak after its May 27 story titled “Urban warfare a challenge for soldiers in Marawi” featured a photo of soldiers in Vietnam, which was sourced from Wikimedia Commons, and not taken from the ongoing siege in Marawi City.

“Upon learning of the error, we immediately took the photo down but not before it was shared by our readers and subscribers,” the PNA said in a statement posted on its website.

The PNA also acknowledged that its May 15 story titled “95 states convinced there are no EJKs in PHL” contained erroneous information.

Department of the Interior and Local Secretary Epimaco Densing, who was quoted in the report, denied saying that 95 nations were convinced that there are no extrajudicial killings in the Philippines during the Universal Periodic Review of the Philippines before the United Nations Human Rights Council.

“We regret that these mistakes have cast doubt on our integrity as a news agency,” PNA said.

“Rest assured we have dealt with our erring personnel and that we are reviewing our procedures on reportage as we continue to uphold our commitment to deliver accurate and balanced news reports to the Filipino people and the world.”

Aside from the PNA, Presidential Communications Operations Office Assistant Secretary Mocha Uson is also under fire after she shared on her Facebook account a photo taken abroad and not of Filipino soldiers.

In her post, Uson appealed for prayers for soldiers fighting the Maute terrorists in Marawi City. However, it was accompanied by a photo which turned out to be that of Honduran cops.

In another post, Uson clarified that she did not claim the photo was taken in Marawi. 

"I did not say that picture was taken from Marawi. It's a symbol of army praying. Pag nag post ba ako ng picture ni Rizal na sumusulat at sabihin ko na tuloy ang laban para sa kalayaan ibig sabihin si Rizal ang lalaban?" said Uson.

PCOO secretary Martin Andanar refused to grant an interview when sought for comment by reporters Tuesday.

The PNA and Uson committed these gaffes even as Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella asked the media over the weekend to stop spreading “alarmist and untrue reports.”

Abella made the plea following reports that the Lanao del Sur Electric Cooperative had been attacked by Maute terrorists.

National Union of Journalists of the Philippines chairman Ryan Rosauro said it was “disingenuous” of Abella to address his appeal solely to the private media.

Rosauro also scored government officials of “making often contradictory pronouncement and, worst, deliberately spreading wrong or totally false information.”

“[You] have no call to tell us what or what not, when or when not, to report, especially not if the very government and institutions you serve, which we are obliged to treat as official sources, cannot even ensure the accuracy of the information your provide,” Rosauro said in a statement.