âDuterte continues to respect press freedomâ
Following the closure of television network ABC-CBN due to not being granted a new franchise last month, Presidential spokesman Harry Roque downplayed the one-month-old results of the Social Weather Station survey on the public’s assertion that there is a danger posed by printing or broadcasting anything critical of the administration.
The STAR/KJ Rosales, File
‘Duterte continues to respect press freedom’
Christina Mendez (The Philippine Star) - August 9, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Duterte administration continues to respect the freedom of speech and freedom of the press, according to a Palace official, adding that no libel cases have been filed by the President against his critics.

Following the closure of television network ABC-CBN due to not being granted a new franchise last month, Presidential spokesman Harry Roque downplayed the one-month-old results of the Social Weather Station (SWS) survey on the public’s assertion that there is a danger posed by printing or broadcasting anything critical of the administration.

The Palace referred to the SWS’s National Mobile Phone Survey showing half of adult Filipinos agreeing with the statement, “It is dangerous to print or broadcast anything critical of the administration, even if it is the truth.”

Roque assured the public that President Duterte has not disregarded the constitutionally-backed freedom of the press and freedom of speech in the country.

“Be that as it may, the Duterte administration continues to respect the freedom of speech and the freedom of the press in the country. No single libel case has been filed by President Duterte against the political opposition. Media remains alert and vibrant in their reportage of the government and the actions of officials,” he said.

Roque said the respondents could have been affected by developments at the time when the survey was conducted – which was a few days before Congress acted on the franchise application of ABS-CBN.

“Information and news dominating the traditional and social media are therefore about the congressional hearings on the broadcast franchise application of the network. This might have impressed upon the minds of the respondents who participated in the survey,” he said.

Roque noted that the SWS survey was conducted a week before (July 3 to 6) the House of Representatives made their decision on the ABS-CBN broadcast franchise on July 10.

At that time, there was intense lobbying for Congress to approve the TV network’s franchise application, but to no avail.

PRESIDENT DUTERTE PRESS FREEDOM
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