MANILA - The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Thursday denied the alleged issuance of an arrest warrant against a photojournalist for allegedly posting real-time images of government troops engaged in battle in Marawi City.
Contrary to reports circulating online, there is no standing arrest order against Jes Aznar, a Filipino photojournalist whose works appear on the New York Times and other international publications, police officials said during a meeting of the Presidential Task Force on Media Security.
Aznar earlier said his video of soldiers operating in conflict-stricken Marawi was posted on his social media account long after it was taken.
Still, netizens continued to harass the photojournalist for allegedly giving away troop positions amid the fighting.
"What is happening to Aznar can have a chilling effect and can happen to other media workers. We don’t want that,” said task force Executive Director Joel Sy Egco in a statement.
The group "urged" the public to stop sharing and posting fake news as these may aggravate the situation and endanger the lives of media workers and government forces.
Other media groups also condemned some blog sites and netizens who have "maliciously attacked" Aznar using unverified and false allegations.
The Photojournalists' Center of the Philippines "denounced the repeated attacks on media practitioners who have been bravely doing their duty in the midst of dangerous situations."
"We demand an end to the vicious attacks and the false information designed to tarnish the reputation of journalists," the PCP said in a statement.
The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines "urged authorities to protect Aznar from these threats" and to provide assistance after the photojournalist said he was willing to file charges against those who spread misleading information about his conduct in Marawi City.