THE National Union of Journalists of the Philippines calls out Rey Joseph Nieto for attempting to resurrect his utterly discredited accusation against our colleague Jes Aznar during the hearing by the Senate committee on public information and mass media into fake news on Wednesday, Oct. 4.
Early in his testimony, Nieto, a consultant of the Department of Foreign Affairs who is behind the “Thinking Pinoy” blog, cited his claim that Aznar had endangered government soldiers by posting online videos he took of the fighting in the early days of the Marawi crisis.
Worse, Nieto made it appear that what he did was a benign reminder to an errant journalist instead of the hate-filled and, worst of all, totally false rant that it was. And while he did mention that his followers had been “angered” by what Aznar supposedly did, he omitted the fact that his lies had unleashed a barrage of harassment and threats against the respected photojournalist.
In fact, neither did Nieto acknowledge the fact that he went against a government official – Presidential Task Force on Media Safety executive director Joel Sy Egco – calling him a traitor for rightly coming to Aznar’s defense.
He even had the temerity to question the veracity of the fact-checking done by Vera Files, which just happens to be the only media outfit in the country accredited by the International Fact-Checking Network, which totally demolished his claims.
That Nieto did all this under oath should have earned him a perjury charge or a contempt citation at the very least. That he did so as a consultant of the DFA, paid with the people’s money, makes it a hundred times worse. Indeed, that the DFA even considered taking him in says much of how low the standards of governance have sunk and how much premium quality service to the people means to the government.
RJ Nieto dares demand accountability? We say, let him be accountable himself. There is no place in government – or in the field of professional communications, for that matter – for barefaced liars. –Jo Clemente, acting chair, National Union of Journalists of the Philippines