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‘Barefaced lie’: Journalists’ groups reject China’s claim of media manipulation

MANILA, Philippines — Journalists’ groups strongly on Wednesday condemned Beijing’s accusation that journalists embedded on resupply missions in the West Philippine Sea manipulate their footage to depict Manila as a victim in sea confrontations.

The Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines (FOCAP) said it rejects the “false and baseless” claims by Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying that media outlets are made to “manipulate the videos they recorded to make sensational news and project the Philippines as a victim.” 

Hua’s post on X also insinuated that the press is a “troublemaker.”

FOCAP called Hua’s accusation a “barefaced lie.”

“A free and independent press reports not what they are told, but what they observe, framed by historical and political context. The footage seen in the press is vetted by multiple sources and newsrooms,” FOCAP said. 

The association added that China’s claims are “an insult to the integrity of journalists and an alarming attempt to muzzle an independent press.”

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) stressed that state forces have no influence on the production and editorial content of reports about incidents in the West Philippine Sea, except for operational and national security considerations.

“The media is not a party to the dispute and should not be demonized by parties for airing contending views on the issue and unflattering reports on incidents in the West Philippine Sea,” NUJP said. 

Over the weekend, the China Coast Guard blocked and used water cannons against a Filipino supply boat, damaging the vessel and injuring three soldiers.