September 27, 2023

The Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines (Focap) denounces remarks by Southeast Asian Games organizers blaming the media partly for the flurry of negative reports on logistical issues that were raised publicly by Philippine and Southeast Asian athletes and officials themselves.
Independent journalists report problems and issues imbued with public interest as they happen and become evident and do not delay the time to press for accountability. We report defeats and victories, failures and triumphs.
We specially take exception to insinuations by House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, who serves as the organizing committee chairman, that there may have been attempts to bribe the media to malign the Philippines’ hosting of the Southeast Asian Games. Such sweeping accusations, without a shred of evidence and laced with threats of libel suits, are totally unacceptable and tend to intimidate journalists from reporting irregularities objectively.
Calls by the organizers for the media to report only the good news betray our bedrock mandate of providing the public with truthful information that is at the heart of the basic freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution.
Doing their work diligently and honestly would be the best way for independent journalists to show love for country and people in this jubilant season of sportsmanship. Anything less would be tantamount to cheating that is so detested in athletics. — FOCAP, Manila