The Daily Manila Shimbun


Philippine state-run news agency ordered to explain for reposting Xinhua article

August 9, 2017

Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Martin Andanar ordered on Wednesday the Philippine News Agency, a state-run wire agency, for reposting a commentary of the China-state owned Xinhua news agency, which called the arbitral tribunal award on the Philippines as "ill-founded."

In a statement, Andanar said his office took note of the article entitled "Time to turn a new leaf on South China Sea issue" posted by the PNA on its website on August 6, 2017.

"We have already sent a memo to PNA to explain in writing why they should not be held liable for any administrative charges," he said.

"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," Andanar added.

He explained that the article reposted by PNA came from a commentary on Xinhua News Agency's sponsored website Xinhuanet. com which the PNA maintains a partnership.

Being the official press agency of China, he said it is understandable that most commentaries of Xinhua News Agency reflect China's position on certain issues.

"Thus, 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," said the PCOO chief who has jurisdiction over PNA.

Xinhua, in its article, discussed the endorsement by the ASEAN and China of the framework of the Code of Conduct (COC) in the South China Sea, which was eventually adopted at the ASEAN-China meeting on Sunday in Manila.

It said the move was a "substantial step toward calming disputes in the waterway and reaching a long-term solution to a once thorny issue."

But the article also stated, "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."

China did not participate in the proceedings before the UN Arbitral Tribunal and it also refused to accept the decision of the court invalidating its sovereign right over almost the entire South China Sea.

The Philippines, China, Brunei, Malaysia, Vietnam and Taiwan have been claiming whole or in part the South China Sea.

PNA has removed the post regarding Xinhua's commentary. Celerina Monte/DMS