Latin America

[EDITORIAL] #AnimatED: President Duterte, dismantle your propaganda machine

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[EDITORIAL] #AnimatED: President Duterte, dismantle your propaganda machine
It stokes the flames of a highly divisive issue like martial law. It also empowers trolls, poisons the well and lowers our collective IQ and EQ

We don’t need videos from the government media arm mustering support for martial law, especially ungrammatical, cringe-inducing endeavors like this that insult animators and viewers’ intelligence alike.

We don’t need fake photos that show Vietnam combatants passed off as Philippine soldiers from the Philippine News Agency. We don’t need fake photos showing Honduras police instead of the Philippine military from newly minted communications assistant secretary Mocha Uson.

We don’t need fake news from the weaponized propaganda machine that media watchdog Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility says has an “all too tight connection to the President’s own communication team.”

We need reliable information and sensible calls to action. And we surely don’t need the comedy of errors that is the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO).

Mindanaoans need timely guidance on what to do and how to cope with martial law in their backyard. Those in Luzon and the Visayas need to know exactly how to help their brothers in the South.

We need credible assessments on whether there is clear and present danger, and where it may lurk, not doublespeak on “ISIS footprint that doesn’t constitute clear ISIS presence.”

We need a government that speaks with one voice, not discordant squeaks from a chorus of officials who contradict each other.

We don’t need ridiculous theories on what terrorists can and cannot do that only reveal our officials’ ignorance of a virulent ideology that has ripped nations apart.

Difficult times call for efficient and timely government communication.

We need a government media agency that strategizes on key messages without losing sight of public interest and transparency. We do not need one that’s actively plotting to control public opinion and silencing critics through bully tactics on social media.

We need a government media agency that clears the cobwebs, dispels the lies, and quiets the hysteria.

We don’t need spin doctors who muzzle dissent with half-truths and character assassination. 

We don’t need grandstanding bosses in the PCOO who do not respect freedom of the press and do not understand the complex relationship between state media and the free press.

We don’t need a government media agency that teaches people to shoot the messenger and erodes trust in the brand of journalism that has brought down dictators, exposed the corrupt and helped rebuild democracy from the ashes of a dictatorship. We cannot be paying taxes for people who sell the idea that propaganda is public information.

As the President approaches his second year in office, he may well be advised to start with a clean slate when it comes to communications, as he is doing in many government agencies whose heads he has fired.

We need a government media agency that will not beat the drums of war – one that helps shape our best ideas, not our worst.

Mr President, dismantle this propaganda machine that not only stoked the flames of a highly divisive issue like martial law, but also empowered trolls, poisoned the well and singlehandedly lowered our collective IQ and EQ.

Start by firing the jokers in the bureaucracy –the Martin Andanars and their cohorts –  the inept, the unscrupulous and the unprincipled.

Give us a government media that doesn’t spew out slogans, that helps with timely information, that helps build a nation that thinks and debates – which can only help you make smarter and better decisions. –


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