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Palace denies attacks on press freedom

/ 06:36 AM April 27, 2018

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

Malacañang said it was addressing the biggest threat to press freedom—the killing of journalists—and denied that President Duterte’s attacks against certain media agencies affected their freedom to report.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque touted the Palace’s efforts to go after the killers of journalists, a day after the Philippines dropped six points in the World Press Freedom Index of Reporters Without Borders.

“We’d like to highlight that we are addressing the biggest threat to press freedom, which is the killing of journalists. We have established the Task Force on Media Security, created by the President to monitor cases of media violence and to provide legal assistance to the victims and to their family members,” Roque said in a press briefing.

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‘No journalist jailed’

But he disputed the group’s statement that the President’s tirades against certain media agencies had affected press freedom in the Philippines.

“Our record will stand for itself … We have not jailed any journalists. The President does not file libel cases,” he said.

President Duterte’s criticism of media agencies is just a response to what he thinks are incorrect reports about him, he said.

“If you make him a punching bag, the President will respond,” he said.

The chief executive has attacked ABS-CBN, Inquirer and Rappler, contending that they published garbage or twisted reports.

President Duterte’s verbal attacks on media agencies are not a danger to press freedom, Roque insisted. “Who has been endangered with the tirades of the President?” he said. —LEILA B. SALAVERRIA

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