Duterte and the Media: On the Rocks (Updated)

A YEAR into his presidency, Rodrigo Duterte’s speeches remain peppered with expletives and tirades, the most controversial of which have been directed at respected institutions: the church, international human rights organizations, journalists and media companies.

President Duterte started lashing out at ABS-CBN and Philippine Daily Inquirer in March and continued his attacks each time he had a formal speech or was meeting with groups in the Philippines and abroad. In total, he insinuated, charged, and alleged various crimes and wrongdoing, without showing any kind of evidence. These differed from the general animosity and hostility he had always shown d to members of the press who dared to ask questions about subjects he would rather not discuss. This time, Duterte focused his anger at two specific targets in the media community, complete with his repertory of curses.

It did not look like he would let up until he got the effect he wanted. Last July 17, the Prietos announced their decision to sell the Philippine Daily Inquirer to Ramon Ang, owner of San Miguel Brewery and a huge donor to the Duterte campaign.

Since this announcement Duterte had not mentioned the Prietos or the PDI again.  But his tirade against the media, concentrated now on ABS-CBN. During his SONA on July 24, Duterte also include t Rappler, claiming that the media outfit is American-owned.

CMFR’s timeline of Duterte’s first year in office notes the incidents when he criticized the media, as well as his actions on journalist safety and freedom of information.



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