Manila, Philippines — The Hong Kong Journalists Association expressed displeasure over using the media as scapegoat for the hostage tragedy, involving an ex-military Rolando Mendoza, Monday, August 23.
In a letter to President Benigno Aquino III, HKJA said they were “filled with anger and concern over the blame being heaped on the media for contributing to the tragedy.” This was noticed when the President said: “media coverage of his brother (referring to that of Mendoza) being taken into custody further agitated the hostage-taker.”
However, HKJA believed it was not the media that caused the ire of the gunman but the police who arrested and handcuffed Mendoza’s brother before the media.
While HKJA condoled with the families of the victims, they believed the President’s pronouncement for imposing “new restrictions on media coverage was made in haste and without circumspection.”
Despite impending restrictions, HKJA has become more emboldened to exercise the freedom of the press and freedom of expression, saying this is the true essence of a democracy.
For HKJA, the harsh measures against media are done to cover up the government’s ineptitude, and the police must learn the ABCs of dealing with such a situation.