THE state-run Philippine News Agency over the weekend fell for a propaganda by the Chinese state news agency Xinhua when it carried a commentary attacking the arbitration award won by the Philippines as an “ill-founded award.”
The PNA, which has a content partnership with Xinhua, published on Aug. 6 the commentary with the title “Time to turn a new leaf on South China Sea issue” by Chinese reporter He Jing.
He called on the parties to “cherish the hard-won results achieved through numerous rounds of bargaining accommodation, remain vigilant against outside interference and deliver on their joint commitments.”
The commentary described in scathing terms the arbitral award won by Manila in July 2016 and told the parties involved to move on.
“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,” the article read.
The PNA news wire took down the story from its website on Wednesday afternoon.
Facing criticism over the matter, Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said they had already “sent a memo to PNA to explain in writing why they should not be held liable for any administrative charges.”
“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,” he said.
Being the official press agency of the People’s Republic of China, Andanar said, it was 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,” he said.
On July 12, 2016, an international tribunal based in The Hague issued an award in favor of the Philippines and invalidated China’s nine-dash line claim over the South China Sea.
This is not the first time that the PNA has been criticized for its content. In May, it drew flak for using a photograph from the Vietnam War in a story about the Marawi siege.
That same month, it posted erroneous information claiming that 95 nations in the 27th Universal Period Review of the UN Human Rights Council were convinced that there were no summary killings in the Philippines.