NOTWITHSTANDING the red-tagging of journalists critical to his administration, President Rodrigo Duterte vowed to protect the media.
“Let me assure everyone that this administration should remain committed in promoting press freedom as a vital component and indicator of progress anywhere in the world,” Duterte said in a pre-recorded message culminating the World Press Freedom Day today.
He however urged the legitimate members of the working press to “uphold fairness and transparency while also making a positive impact on the people’s lives.”
Since Duterte assumed the presidency in 2016, November 2020 data showed that at least 19 journalists were killed in what is believed to be in line of work.
Interestingly, the country ranks 138th in the World Press Freedom Index covering the current year in the wake of killings, repression resulting in the shutdown of ABS-CBN and red-tagging among journalists.
However, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque doesn’t find any alarm on the current state of the Philippine press by saying that the country’s slide in the index is “de minimis… wala masyadong ibig sabihin.”
“We dispute also the ranking,” he said in a press briefing.