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Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Press Under Fire In Manila

The Philippine President is known to give unethical comments to the members of the press

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George Buid
George Buidhttp://www.georgebuid.com/
An independent photojournalist of the Philippines capturing life as it passes by. He contributes to different news outlet and press publications.

Philippines, Manila. A radio broadcaster was gunned down in Dumaguete City. Rex Cornelio was killed on 5 May 2018. In line with the National Union of Journalist of the Philippines (NUJP) statement, he is the sixteenth journalist to be killed under President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration. The Philippine President is known to give unethical comments to members of the press. In his press conference on 15 May 2016, the newly elected president wolf-whistled at a television newscaster, Mariz Umali of the GMA 7 News network. Maria Ressa, the CEO of Rappler, posted a video on their Youtube channel that depicts the President’s comments about journalists. She is one of the President’s biggest critics.

Rappler CEO Maria Ressa (left) and former author and researcher Reynaldo Santos Jr. (right) found guilty, by Manila Regional Trial Court, of cyber libel both are posting bail. Image by Rhoy Cobilla ©2020

The Manila Regional Trial court found Maria Ressa and Reynaldo Santos Jr. guilty The case was filed against them in October of 2017 by Wilfredo Keng. The case was filed five years after he was mentioned in an article published on May 29 of 2012. The article is entitled “CJ using SUVs of ‘controversial’ businessmen” written by Rappler’s former author and researcher Reynaldo Santos Jr. Then they were arrested on February 13 of 2019 by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI). She forthwith denotes bail by the following morning. The president has nothing to do with it in a statement by Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque. Once the press had an opportunity to interview President Duterte on February 14 of 2019, he claimed he didn’t know Wilfredo Keng. On September 16 of 2019, President Duterted appointed Patricia Anne C. Keng to represent the Youth Sector of the Philippine Commission on Women. She is the daughter of Wilfredo Keng. Senator Christopher “Bong” Go said an equivalent statement on the closure of a big broadcasting network.

Carlo L. Katigbak (right), President and CEO of ABS-CBN, answers questions during a senate hearing. With him is Atty. Mario Bautista (center) and Martin L. Lopez (left), Chairman of ABS-CBN Corporation. Image by Rhoy Cobilla ©2020
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A cease and desist order issued by the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) on the closure of the ABS-CBN network. ABS-CBN is amongst the oldest broadcasting networks in the Philippines. They have been here since 1967. The justice department said that its franchise is to expire on May 4 of 2020. NTC said that it would issue a provisional authority to operate until June 2022 during a senate hearing on March 10 of 2020. The President and CEO of ABS-CBN, Carlo Katigbak said that they did not violate any franchise provision. Also, he apologized to President Duterte for airing political campaigns of the opposition instead of his campaign in 2016 that offended him. President Duterte accepts their apology but is uncertain of their future. The cease and desist order was issued without prior notice on May 5 of 2020.

“The attacks on the free press and journalists are a danger to our democracy and to us Filipinos…. [Filipino] Takot sila, kaya nila tayo pinapatahimik (They are scared that is why they want to silence us),” Senator Risa Hontiveros said and quoted by ABS-CBN in a written article. Academics, media groups, and different news outfits find this a direct attack on the press. Specifically, inculpative the statement of National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) in a Facebook post on May 10 of 2020. They notice the offensive black propaganda was even shared by Presidential Communications on Facebook. The post was deleted however there’s a screenshot of it in Rappler’s article.

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This has been an ongoing conflict since the Ampatuan massacre on November 23 of 2009. And it continues with the House hearing for the franchise of ABS-CBN. Where 11,000 staff are in danger of losing their jobs throughout the pandemic. House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano should come to a final vote after seven hearings said by Representative Lito Atienza.

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