The Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP) announced on Thursday that it refuses to heed the calls from various sectors to boycott the press conferences of President-elect Rodrigo Duterte after his controversial statement about media killings.
Herman Basbano, the KBP Chairman, explained that the media are duty-bound to cover Duterte’s press conferences despite his comments and attitude toward the media.
"May trabaho tayo, hindi natin pabayaan na dahil na may sinabing masama sa atin, hindi na tayo mag-cover (We have a job, we will not allow his negative comments about us to stop us from covering.) I don’t think that should be an option or a paradigm concerned," Basbano told ANC's Dateline Philippines.
During Duterte’s press conference on Tuesday night, the president-elect said that many journalists who have been killed were targeted due to their corrupt practices. He added that the freedom of the press cannot protect corrupt media men from getting assassinated.
“Kaya namamatay kasi karamihan diyan nabayaran na (They get killed because most of them were paid.) They take sides or sobrahan ang atake (excessive attack), getting personal,” Duterte stated on Tuesday.
Due to these statements, Reporters Without Borders – a non-government organization based in Paris – expressed their outrage over Duterte’s comments and urged Filipino journalists to boycott his news conferences until he makes a public apology. The organization also called on the media to take legal action against the president-elect of the Philippines.
"Not only are these statements unworthy of a president but they could also be regarded as violations of the law on defamation or even the law on inciting hatred and violence," Reporters Without Borders wrote.
Although Basbano recognizes that some media members are corrupt, he said that most of them are faithful in their duty as journalists – to report the truth and serve the public the best they can.