Laviña says Duterte ‘taken out of context’ on journalist killings
The spokesperson of President-elect Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday said the latter was taken out of context by the media about his latest statement endorsing journalist killings in the country.
In a statement, Peter Laviña said Duterte was only telling the truth when the latter in a press conference Tuesday night said journalists are getting killed because they were paid to attack and they practice irresponsible journalism.
He lamented that instead of focusing on Duterte’s “declaration of war against red tape and the unnecessary fees imposed on hapless citizens,” the international and national press focused on the issue of Duterte’s foul statement about media killings.
“The expected headlines aside from the new cabinet members would have been the declaration of war against red tape and the unnecessary fees imposed on hapless citizens. Yet, national and international media lapped up on the issue of media killings. Again and as usual, Rody Duterte was taken out of context, misinterpreted and misunderstood,” Laviña said.
During his first press conference as president-elect, Duterte endorsed media killings and blamed media corruption as the cause of these extrajudicial killings.
He said journalists would not be killed if they practiced responsible journalism.
“Kaya namamatay kasi nabayaran na they take sides or nasobrahan nila ang atake (They [journalists] are killed because they are paid to take sides or they attacked too much)… It’s not because you’re a journalist you’re exempted from assassination if you’re a son of a b****,” Duterte said.
“The Constitution can no longer help you pag binaboy mo isang tao (if you disrespect a person). Your freedom of expression can’t help you if you’ve done something wrong with the guy,” he added.
Laviña said Duterte remains committed to create a task force to address media killings and to assign a special prosecutor to focus on these cases.
In clarifying Duterte’s harsh comments about media killings, Laviña said Duterte only cited the cases of slain journalists in Davao City killed for “being corrupt or involved in shady deals.”
“Certainly, Duterte has no personal knowledge on each and every single case of media killings in many parts of the country,” Laviña said.
Duterte in the press conference mentioned the slain journalist Jun Pala, a journalist, politician and Duterte’s vocal critic who was shot by unidentified gun men in Davao City in 2003.
“If you are an upright journalist, nothing will happen to you… The example here is Pala. I do not want to diminish his memory but he was a rotten son of a b****. He deserved it.” said Duterte, who once admitted his ties to the Davao Death Squad, a vigilante group accused of being behind thousands of extrajudicial killings of criminals in Davao City where Duterte served as mayor for two decades.
Laviña said Duterte noted that media practitioners are vulnerable to assassination because “they were no longer seen as fair and neutral members of the media.”
Laviña said the media “have become partisan propagandists, deliberately using their media outlets in attacking or defending one party or another and collecting pay offs on both.”
Laviña said Duterte witnessed media corruption during the campaign, when reporters were being paid to attack him through black propaganda masquerading as legitimate news items.
“In the context of Duterte’s campaign against corruption, his remarks indeed should be seen to mean a reminder or a message that there are also corruption in mass media. And he has seen this during the recent election when headlines, for instance, were being bumped off to give way to paid black propaganda masquerading as news items,” Laviña said.
“Hence, he said you really want the truth? Well, that’s the truth,” he added. RAM
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