Media groups in Visayas call Duterte's remarks 'crass, irresponsible' | Inquirer News
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Media groups in Visayas call Duterte’s remarks ‘crass, irresponsible’

Duterte

Media organizations in the Visayas on Wednesday deplored President-elect Rodrigo Duterte’s statement of that many of the murdered Filipino journalists were killed because they were corrupt. Marc Jayson Cayabyab/INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

ILOILO CITY, Philippines—Media organizations in the Visayas on Wednesday deplored President-elect Rodrigo Duterte’s statement of that many of the murdered Filipino journalists were killed because they were corrupt.

The media groups said his remark during a press conference in Davao City on Tuesday could be interpreted as justification and approval of attacks against journalists perceived to be corrupt.

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READ: Duterte: Media corruption root cause of journalists’ killings

“His latest statement on murdered journalists is crass and irresponsible, to a point that it could be interpreted as an overt approval of media harassment and killings,” said Francis Allan Angelo, president of the Iloilo Press Club.

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In the press conference, the incoming president also said that upright journalists were not killed in the country.

While corruption exists in the media community, Angelo said it was “reprehensible” for the incoming president to lump the victims of the killings as corrupt.

“Figures showed that most slain journalists were crusaders against corruption and abuses of government officials. Apparently, their only mistake was to cross the corrupt by exposing the truth,” Angelo said.

Since 1986, 176 Filipino journalists have been killed, according to the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP). These include 32 media workers who were gunned down along with 26 other people in Ampatuan town in Maguindanao province last Nov. 23, 2009 in what was considered the worst single attack ever against journalists.

“His crass statement will also dampen moves to resolve and prevent cases of journalists who were murdered in line of work as authorities will consider their deaths as offshoots of professional infractions or unethical practices,” Angelo said.

The Iloilo chapter of the NUJP stressed that there is no justification, even corruption, for the murder of any journalist.

READ: NUJP to Duterte: Nothing justifies journalist killings

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“Many of the slain journalists were only doing their jobs and died fighting for just cause. And even if they did something wrong, they do not deserve to be killed,” said Glenda Sologastoa, NUJP-Iloilo president.

The Iloilo Provincial Capitol Press Corps (IPCPC) said it was “saddened” by Duterte’s pronouncement.

Bing Pabiona, IPCPC president, said the murdered journalists fought for the truth.

Journalists in Tacloban City in Leyte also decried Duterte’s statement.

Vicky Arnaiz, vice president of NUJP-Leyte, said that Duterte’s remark was shocking and could be used as a license to silence and kill members of the media.

“We are in for silencing the media. President-elect Duterte’s statement could incite more murders. Any assassination is not justified. It’s an atrocious statement coming from a President against the media,” she said.

For Eileen Ballesteros, board member of the National Press Club-Tacloban and correspondent of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) News, journalists should not be judged outright and be labeled as corrupt to justify their killings.

“The public should always keep in mind that the fundamental law of the land, the Philippine Constitution, provides due process and equal protection of law. Can President Duterte afford to see any of his Cabinet members or his family killed without due process only because that murdered person is perceived to be corrupt?” Ballesteros said. RAM

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TAGS: corruption, Filipino, journalists, Killings, Media, President-elect Rodrigo Duterte, Visayas
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