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.

Contrary to what Roque said, CNN Philippines was also not the only news organization to quote him and write the news story.  Other news organizations like the Philippine Daily Inquirer, the Philippine Star and Rappler, used the same quote from Roque, a fact cited by both the NUJP and CNN Philippines.

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.