Filipino police in Newsrooms

In the Philippines, the military has begun giving 30 soldiers a 10 days crash course on news reporting to strengthen the Government’s information program and campaign against terrorism.

The move is drawing criticism from the Filipino National Union of Journalists (NUJP).

The military will pay for the soldiers’ salaries and allowances after they join media outlets, mostly in Mindanao where the Government has been fighting Muslim rebels for 30 years.

Major Gamal Hayudini, of the military’s civil relations service, says they will do what regular reporters do, including getting instructions from local station managers.

“They will do actual radio and tv reporting including mainstream media.”

“The military has assured media companies that the soldiers will not spy on journalists.

But, the NUJP says the plan is a threat to democracy. It is also critical of the Government’s inaction in solving assassinations of local journalists.

At least six radio reporters have been killed this year, raising to 56 the total number of journalists murdered in the Philippines since 1986.