Worst times for journos under Duterte gov’t, says former U.P. dean

Amelie De Leon
Worst times for journos under Duterte gov’t, says former U.P. dean
Former University of the Philippines' College of Mass Communication dean Luis Teodoro says the state of the press in the Philippines 'has never been ideal'

MANILA, Philippines – A former dean of the University of the Philippines’ College of Mass Communication said it is so far the worst time to be a journalist, referencing the various actions of the Duterte administration against the media. 

“The state of the press has never been ideal,” former UP CMC dean Luis Teodoro said on Friday, July 19, during the 11th State of Presidency forum in UP Diliman.

Teodoro cited the ‘matrix’ and ‘Red October’ conspiracy stories, in which the administration tried to link individuals and groups from different sectors to a plot to oust President Rodrigo Duterte. 

In addition to this, Teodoro also mentioned other specific cases of threats and harassment by the Duterte regime, including the legal cases against Rappler and its executive editor Maria Ressa, the accusations against Vera Files and the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, and attacks against alternative media, among others. (READ: #DefendPressFreedom: Media under attack)

According to the data collected by the Center for Media Freedom & Responsibility (CMFR) from June 2016 to July 2019, there have been a total of 134 cases of threats, 19 being cases of intimidation and redbaiting, 50 being cases of attacks online, and 60 being perpetrated by a state agent or agency. 

Despite the situation, Teodoro described the truth-seeking journalists as those who continue to persevere and tackle difficult and hard-pressed issues facing the nation. (READ: When journalists become the story: Attacks against the media

But he also warned against a growing group of “creatures who have the audacity to call themselves journalists, making a career spreading false and distorted information.”  

“A combination of factors, among them government intimidation and corruption towards the media, has led to much of the media’s failure to provide information and analysis to assist the people’s needs in these perilous times,” Teodoro said.

The 11th State of Presidency forum, spearheaded by the Center for People Empowerment in Governance (CenPEG)  fellows, sought to display an unconventional perspective on the nation’s state of affairs, the seminar addressed topics such as economics, politics, the election system, foreign policy, misogyny, and the current state of the media in an effort to spark reform. – Rappler.com

Amelie de Leon is a Rappler intern from the International School Manila.