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FOCAP condemns Chinese embassy’s claims on ‘manipulated’ West Philippine Sea videos

MANILA, Philippines — The Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines (FOCAP) strongly rejected and condemned yesterday China’s “false and baseless” claims that journalists manipulate videosthey recorded in the South China Sea to present the Philippines as a victim.

“In line with this, the association strongly rejects and condemns the false, baseless claims by the Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying and the Chinese embassy in Manila that journalists ‘manipulate the videos they recorded’ in South China Sea to ‘project the Philippines a victim’,” FOCAP said in a statement.

“FOCAP takes deep offense at the insinuation that the press is a ‘troublemaker’ and in cahoots with the government to forward a political agenda,” the association said.

Members of FOCAP include both Filipinos and foreign nationals from around the world, some of whom have embedded in Philippine missions.

Hua and the Chinese embassy’s claim that the Philippines had journalists manipulate their footage is a “barefaced lie,” FOCAP said.

FOCAP, as part of the larger tradition of the free peers in the Philippines, has demonstrated its credibility in covering both domestic and geopolitical conflicts since its founding in 1974.

“A free and independent press reports not what they are told, but what they observe, framed by historical and political context,” it said.

The footage seen in the press is vetted by multiple sources and newsrooms.

FOCAP noted that the work of journalists, including members of FOCAP and especially when carried by multiple media outlets, speaks for itself.

The statements by the Foreign Ministry spokesman and embassy, the association said, are an insult to the integrity of journalists and an alarming attempt to muzzle an independent press.

“FOCAP will not be intimidated by threats and groundless attempts to smear its members’ reputation. We will continue to courageously cover developments and the impact of events in the South China Sea and across the region,” FOCAP said.