by: Rommel. F. Lopez
“You owe CNN and Triciah Terada an apology”
This was the reaction of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) after Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque publicly berated CNN Philippines and its reporter Triciah Terada during the Laging Handa virtual briefing Tuesday, May 19.
During the live briefing, Terada who just asked Roque a question, suddenly berated the reporter instead of answering her question. Roque said that Terada supposedly tweeted and came out with misleading report, referring to a story headlined “Up to private sector to carry out mass testing, Roque says amid limited testing capacity.”
In it, Roque admitted that the government has no mass testing program and would leave this to private businesses.
Roque berated Terada for taking “out of context” what he said.
“Hindi po mass testing ang ginagawa natin, it is expanded targeted testing…I have to call you out at ikaw lang ang nag-report ng ganyan,” Roque said while berating Terada.
(We are not doing mass testing. What we are doing is expanded targeted testing. I have to call you out. You are the only who carried that kind of story.)
But the story Roque was protesting was not written by Terada, according to CNN Philippines in a statement.
CNN Philippines says it stood by its story and said that they accurately reported and quoted Roque’s remarks.
“It is likewise regrettable that Ms. Terada was not given a chance to challenge the allegations made against her and defend herself from the public attack that could harm her reputation as a journalist and a professional,” CNN Philippines added.
The NUJP also pointed out the official transcript of Roque’s Monday briefing where he responded to the request of GMA’s Joseph Morong to confirm that government had no mass testing program.
“SEC. ROQUE: Well, as much as possible po ano, mayroon tayong—ini-increase natin iyong capacity natin ng testing kaya nga we’re aiming na aabot tayo sa 30,000. Pero in terms of mass testing na ginagawa ng Wuhan na all 11 million, wala pa pong ganiyang programa at iniiwan natin sa pribadong sektor. You can ask your question from Dra. Minguita, she’s here I think ‘no. Anong question mo?”
“Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque owes CNN Philippines and its reporter Triciah Terada an apology for his boorish and, as it turned out, misbegotten tirade,” the NUJP said.
“Officials who earn public ire for their pronouncements should not blame journalists who are merely doing their jobs,” it added.
In a tweet, University of the Philippines Journalism professor Danilo Arao said Roque crossed the line for publicly humiliating Terada. “If he had a problem with her report yesterday, he should have called the attention of CNN Philippines immediately AFTER the report was aired. So unprofessional of him!” Arao said.
“Roque should publicly apologize for two reasons: (1) Wrongfully attributing the “contentious” CNN Philippines report/post to Ms. Terada; and (2) Publicly humiliating Ms. Terada who was only doing her job as a journalist. This is the least he can do,” he added.
Responding to his earlier tweet, Terada said that what happened to her “should not happen to anyone”.
Thank you, Prof. Arao. I agree w/ your points, sir. This should not happen to anyone, but maybe this is also the price that comes w/ our work. But to set the record straight, I DID NOT tweet, publish/air an erroneous report. In fact, I wasn’t even part of our newscast yesterday.
— Trish Terada (@TriciahTerada) May 19, 2020
(Rommel F. Lopez)