Duterte to make announcements only through state media
DAVAO CITY—No more press conferences for the meantime for rapid-fire President-elect Rodrigo Duterte.
After telling off the media Thursday night and even encouraging Manila reporters to leave his city, Duterte has apparently decided to stick to his word for once: From now on, he will make his official announcements and statements through state media.
Duterte’s executive assistant Christopher Go made the announcement Friday night, saying
“There will be no more press cons (press conferences) for now. So that there will be no more errors,” said Go.
He said Duterte would tap state-owned television station PTV-4 for his press releases and interviews.
This week, Duterte has had to clarify his statements in press briefings at least twice after drawing widespread condemnation.
First, his camp said his statement on the murder of journalists, which made global headlines and received international criticism, had been misquoted and misinterpreted. Citing an example of a journalist slain in 2003, Duterte had said: “Just because you are a journalist, you are not exempted from assassination if you’re a son of a bitch.”
On Thursday night, he explained that his whistle, taken at face value as sexually suggestive, was innocent, and that he was merely “exasperated” by television reporter Mariz Umali’s question about his Cabinet.
Duterte invoked freedom of expression in justifying his whistle, which Umali’s husband, journalist Raffy Tima, had publicly condemned as inappropriate.
In what is now supposed to be Duterte’s last press briefing, the President-elect said he was the least bothered by calls for the press to boycott him.
“I do not want publicity you know that. It would be good if you just disappear,” he said.
He then said he would just make his announcements through state media.
“Go and boycott me. I’m urging you make this trip your last in Davao city. I do not care if there’s nobody covering me,” he said.
At one point, Duterte even said: “I’m challenging you: Kill journalism, stop journalism in your country, if you are worth your salt. If you don’t then I will think lowly of you. You’d be like cowards.”
He later clarified this statement and said he could not stop journalists who would like to cover him, and that his “kill journalism” line only meant he would not be bothered if the media stopped covering him in his city.