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A GLOBAL media watchdog urged Philippine media to boycott the press conferences of President-elect Rodrigo Duterte after his appalling statements on journalist killings.
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said journalists should boycott Duterte’s press briefings until he issues a formal and public apology. RSF also called for legal action against Duterte.
During a press briefing on Tuesday in Davao City, the incoming President made a declaration that some journalists were murdered because of corruption.
“Just because you’re a journalist you are not exempted from assassination, if you’re a son of a bitch,” Duterte said.
“Kaya namamatay kasi nabayaran na they take sides or nasobrahan nila ang atake,” he added.
Benjamin Ismaïl, the head of RSF’s Asia-Pacific desk, said Duterte’s statements were not only “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.”
“Duterte should nonetheless be pleased by the existence of these laws because without them he would also be exposed to violent repercussions, according to his own words. We urge organizations that represent the media to not overlook comments of this kind and to bring lawsuits. We also urge the media to boycott the Duterte administration’s news conferences until the media community gets a public apology,” Ismaïl said.
“Seven journalists were murdered in the Philippines in 2015 although, as a result of the prevailing impunity for crimes of violence against media personnel, it has only been possible to establish in three of the cases that the victims were killed in connection with their journalistic activity,” RSF said.
RSF said that respect for media freedom declined in 2015 in the Philippines, which is ranked 138th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2016 World Press Freedom Index.