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Even if it causes her much pain: PGMA: "I'll continue to defend press freedom"

CEBU, Philippines - President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo expressed her admiration to the broadcasters of different radio and television stations in Cebu for their great help in building the nation and assured them that she will continue to defend the freedom of expression of the country.

“I will continue to defend freedom of expression in our land, even if that freedom is causing me and my other officials much pain from the lies heaped on us by our critics,” said President Arroyo in her prepared statement that was delivered by Press Undersecretary Romeo “Butch” Junia during the Broadcasters Congress in Cebu last Sunday.

The President said freedom of the press is very much alive in our country, “even if it sometimes borders on license.”

While she does not like what some people said, the country’s chief executive said she will always defend the right on freedom of expression not only because it is her sworn duty to protect, but she personally believe that democracy can flourish and development can be sustained only when the four freedoms are guaranteed, including freedom of speech.

According to the President, she wished to attend the opening of the Broadcasters Month in Cebu, but she could not do it because she has a prior commitment abroad.

Arroyo explained that sometimes her decisions are not popular to the public because there is only one interest to prevail in decision making and that is the national interest.

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“Sectoral or political must take a back seat to the nation’s interest, and personal gain should not even be considered at all,” she added.

She claimed this is why she admired the broadcasters because “you have been relatively objective in reporting and the opinion makers among you often balance adverse opinions with alternative viewpoints.”

However, Arroyo added she was not happy because some members of the media are engaged in sensationalizing stories in the race for audience, readers or viewers’ ratings.

“It is lamentable that so many others pieces of high-impact good news would be drowned by exaggerated stories that have little or no bearing on the lives of our people,” Mrs. Arroyo said, as she challenged the KBP officials to change it.

She has cited that the media blow up the issue that many people become jobless because of the effect of the world’s economic crisis, but failed to give importance that the country avoided “the worst blows of the crisis because of the economic reforms installed by the government.” — Rene U. Borromeo/WAB   (FREEMAN NEWS)   

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