On the ‘house visit’ of journalists

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We in the Altermidya Network express concern over reports that the Philippine National Police are conducting house-to-house operations directed toward journalists.

GMA News reporter JP Soriano posted on social media that a person introducing himself as police—presenting identification but not wearing a uniform—had come to his private residence.

The officer said the PNP instructed them to approach journalists and determine if they were facing any “threat”, and to check their conditions in light of the brutal slaying of broadcaster Percy Lapid. The officer then requested to take a picture of Soriano claiming it was for documentation. They then left to proceed to the address of another journalist in the vicinity.

The National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) said it will conduct an investigation regarding the incident, but this statement only confirms that there is indeed an operation involving journalists.

Altermidya condemns these operations as insidious and a clear case of harassment.

Aside from being unsolicited, personal visits only make journalists even more vulnerable to further harm, at the very least putting their privacy at risk.

Such “coordination”, in fact, violates of the Data Privacy Act, and sends the message to journalists that they know their personal information. Rather than reassuring journalists, it creates the very threat it claims to investigate.

If the PNP is truly determined to address press freedom violations in the country, it will prioritize solving the numerous cases of media attacks, including the killing of Percy Lapid and the death threats and red-tagging incidents against media personalities. More importantly, the PNP should immediately address the culture of impunity, especially within its ranks.

We stand with our colleagues in demanding an independent probe and putting a stop to such menacing operations designed to harm and intimidate media practitioners. #

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