Duterte: MTRCB violating freedom of expression

Edith Regalado - The Philippine Star
Duterte: MTRCB violating freedom of expression
Former president Rodrigo Duterte Presidential.
Photo / Roemari Lismonero

DAVAO CITY, Philippines — Former president Rodrigo Duterte spoke out against the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB)’s preventive suspension of two Sonshine Media Network International (SMNI) shows, saying it was a violation of his “right to free expression.”

The MTRCB imposed a 14-day suspension last Dec. 18 on Duterte’s “Gikan sa Masa Para sa Masa” talk show, hosted by pastor Apollo Quiboloy, which tackles politics, economics and other matters.

The same two-week suspension was meted out to SMNI talk show “Laban Kasama ang Bayan” hosted by Lorraine Badoy and Jeffrey Celis.

Duterte stressed that the MTRCB’s action is a gross violation of his constitutional right to free expression.

“Second, of course, is the outfit I’m using as a platform for violation for press freedom. In my view, the suppression of your right to exercise this freedom cannot be subject to preliminary or permanent status. That shouldn’t be allowed. The right to free expression is absolute to me. That is how I understood it,” Duterte said.

The MTRCB said it issued the suspensions after a “thorough review and investigation” of violations on the programs’ aired content, based on “complaints received by the board.”

These include apparent death threats made on “Gikan sa Masa Para sa Masa” and unverified reporting on “Laban Kasama ang Bayan.”

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