Palace: Duterte admin does not condone media violence
MANILA, Philippines — The Duterte administration does “not condone media violence and repression of information,” Malacañang said Friday, World Press Freedom Day.
In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said “President Rodrigo Roa Duterte believes in the important role the press plays in our great democracy as he considers the fourth estate as our partners for genuine change.”
“As he himself said to the members of the media and by paraphrasing the words of Evelyn Beatrice Hall in her book entitled The Friends of Voltaire, ‘I may not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it,’” he said.
Despite Duterte’s tirades on the media, even threating to block ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal, calling out the Inquirer for its critical reporting, and slamming Rappler as “fake news site,” among others, Panelo said the government does not condone media violence.
“We do not condone media violence and repression of information,” he said.
He touted the creation of the Presidential Task Force on Media Security in October 2016 and the orders of the President, which he said “[advanced] freedom of information” in the executive branch.
Panelo also cited the “drastic improvements in Philippines’ state television” with the construction of Davao and Cordillera Broadcast Hubs and introduction of Salaam TV, the first Muslim-oriented television channel in the country, and soon, the Lumad TV.
In the World Press Freedom Index released this April 2019, Paris-based Reporters Without Borders said the Philippines dropped one spot from its rank in the 2018 index from 133rd to 134th.
The media group said “the government has developed several ways to pressure journalists who dare to be overly critical of the summary methods adopted by ‘Punisher’ Duterte and his notorious ‘war on drugs’,” citing three journalism-related deaths in 2019.
But Panelo said the Duterte administration supports press freedom in the Philippines.
“The Duterte Administration assures members of the press that it will support them in the free exercise of their profession and in crafting accurate, fair and non-partisan reports for the Filipino people,” he said. /kga
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