Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar promised to take action against the Philippine News Agency officials or staff involved in the PNA’s posting of an article that described the Hague ruling as an “ill-founded award.”
“We will take appropriate action against liable PNA officials and/or staff, if they are found to commit negligence in carrying out their duties and responsibilities,” said Andanar in a statement released on August 9.
Andanar said that he had required PNA to explain why it posted a commentary article from the Xinhua News Agency, China’s state press agency, that is pro-China.
We have already sent a memo to PNA [requiring it] to explain in writing why [it] should not be held liable for any administrative charges,” Andanar said in a statement.
On August 6, PNA posted an article, titled “Time to turn a new leaf on South China Sea issue,”.
A paragraph in the article said, “More than one year after an ill-founded award at a South China Sea arbitration unilaterally delivered by an ad hoc tribunal in The Hague, the situation in the South China Sea has stabilized and improved thanks to the wisdom and sincerity of China and the parties concerned.”
Andanar said that the PNA runs Xinhua articles because it has a partnership with the Chinese state news agency. He added that it is “understandable” why Xinhua’s commentaries would “reflect China’s position on certain issues.”
This led Andanar to emphasize the importance of checking the Xinhua reports before running them on the PNA website.
“All reposts from Xinhua, and all other partner news agencies for that matter, should undergo scrutiny and must be subject to discernment by PNA prior to reposting them,” he said.
PNA’s mistake caused netizens to slam the government news agency and to call the PNA and the officials involved as traitors who committed treason.
In 2016, the Hague ruling nullified the “9-dash line” claim by China, in favor of the Philippines.
This is not the first time the PNA was in hot water for something that was posted on their website. They were also slammed for writing the fake news about how 95 UN member states were convinced that there are no extrajudicial killings in the Philippines and for using a Vietnam war photo in one Marawi-related article. PNA was also one of the news outlets that carried the report about the 59 dead Marawi evacuees, something that Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial disputed.