García Padilla: Journalists association misinterpreted me
SAN JUAN – Gov. Alejandro García Padilla said the board of the Puerto Rico Journalists Association (ASPPRO by its Spanish acronym) “misinterpreted his remarks,” and that offending the professional integrity of journalists couldn’t be farther away from his intention.
The ASPPRO issued Saturday morning a statement rejecting “the expressions by Gov. Alejandro García Padilla during a press conference Friday in La Fortaleza and in which he avoided answering a question, to then say a journalist allegedly asked him to appoint his wife in a government position.”
“The moment journalists questioned [García Padilla] about the corruption scheme of convicted Anaudi Hernández, the chief executive tried to minimize the credibility of journalism professionals in their coverage of a corruption case that directly involves his administration,” the association stated.
Regarding the issue, García Padilla explained that the “principal purpose of that reference was to better understand that there is nothing incorrect or immoral in seeking help, as long as it is within the law.”
He added that “if recommending names to the governor was immoral or incorrect, especially for trust positions, I would say the names. But that is not how it is. That’s what I was referring to when I came in defense of journalists who have decided to serve this country in their public service.”
“And that is what I want to be understood, that recommending candidates to officials or suggesting the evaluation of someone interested in a job isn’t wrong and is common practice, even among journalists,” he said.
As to ASPPRO’s demand that he has “the duty to be specific in his accusations and not generalize to divert the topic with insinuations that cast a shadow over the country’s journalists,” García Padilla insisted that “those who have solicited said help, know so and I don’t think they have done anything wrong.”
The governor added that “if [the journalists who asked for help] believe that revealing their names achieves a more just and transparent society, they should voluntarily identify themselves or the petition[ASPPRO’s] should be directed at them.”
The governor ended his statement, saying, “The practice of serious journalism is of fundamental value to our democracy and is everyone’s duty to defend.”