Paul Gutierrez, President of the National Press Club (NPC), said that the decision of the incoming President Rodrigo “Digong” Duterte to course his press releases and statements through state-managed television network PTV-4 has negative consequences on the Philippines’ free press.
“I believe that this is a follow-up doon sa sinabi niya na kung ayaw siyang i-boycott ng media, eh siya na lang ang magbo-boycott sa media. In a sense, this is a subtle way o simpleng pamamaraan ng bagong administrasyon na limitahan ang ating kalayaan sa malayang pamamahayag,” Gutierrez said in a media interview on Monday.
(I believe that this is a follow-up to what he said that if the media would not boycott him, he would be the one to boycott the media instead. In a sense, this is a subtle way of the incoming administration in limiting our free press.)
The president of the NPC said that one of the risks attending the sole reliance on the government television channel for information from the government is that people, especially journalists who are not members of the PTV-4, are to face difficulty in knowing whether the facts they gathered are accurate.
He also hopes that Martin Andanar, incoming Communications Secretary, would talk sense into Duterte.
“I cannot help but to think of it that way kasi kung dati, may free market of ideas—na kanya-kanyang pagalingan ang mga mamamahayag sa pagkuha ng balita biglang nagkaroon ng filter, particular na sa Palasyo ng Malacañang. Naniniwala naman tayo na they would somehow prevail on the President. It cannot go on this way,” he said.
(I cannot help but to think of it that way because before, there was free market of ideas. The journalists are showcasing their expertise in news writing. Then all of a sudden, there is a filter, specifically in Malacañang. We believe that they would somehow prevail on the President. It cannot go on this way.)
However, the Palace announced that the choice of Duterte to utilize PTV-4 is not illegal nor wrong.
“We don’t see any problem with that and it is within the bounds of the law,” present Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said.