President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday guaranteed the Philippine media that his administration will not allow any possible abuse of privileges vested in them.
Duterte made the vow during the oath-taking of newly-elected officers and board of trustees of the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP) held at Palace’s Rizal Hall on Wednesday night.
“While the Constitution upholds the freedom of the press, the function of broadcast is a privilege granted by government. It is imbued with the best interest of the nation and our people. We will not tolerate any abuse of the privilege,” he said.
Duterte’s assurance came as the 25-year legislative franchise of ABS-CBN Corp., one of the broadcasting firms in the country, is set to expire on March 30, 2020.
He did not touch on the issues hounding ABS-CBN, but emphasized that he acknowledges the important role of the broadcast media in “shaping a nation’s progress (through) responsible dissemination of news and information to our people.”
Duterte said his government would uphold the “equal” protection of media’s rights and safety, as they carry out their mandate to raise public awareness on several issues pressing the country.
“Throughout (our) history, we have seen how mass media in the Philippines has shown its vital role in promoting awareness on various social issues, disseminating critical information and mobilizing for public action in times of natural disasters and calamities, and in ensuring accountability in government and other social institutions,” Duterte said.
‘Truth, fair’ reporting
At the event, Duterte lauded the KBP for elevating the standards of broadcasting and helping promote “positive” social change.
He also acknowledged the group’s efforts to disseminate information that helps bring progress to the country, as well as to foster improved business practices within the media industry.
Duterte expressed hope that KBP would also contribute to a “stronger and brighter future for all Filipinos.”
“To the new board of trustees and offices of KBP, I invite you to lead the Philippine broadcasting industry with your stronger dedication of your shared task of nation-building. I trust that you will use the power of media to inform, entertain, educate, persuade, and to promote the welfare of the people,” he said.
Assuring the Philippine media of their safety and protection under his watch, Duterte was optimistic that they would continue to stand by the “principles of truth and responsibility of fairness.”
Doesn’t mind ‘destroying’ him
Duterte also told the media to continue reporting the truth, even if doing so could “destroy” him.
He made the call, as he lamented that corruption in government remains rampant.
The President said all he asks is “simply the truth.”
He reminded them that writing an impartial report is necessary because the public needs to be updated of what is happening in the country.
“If the truth will destroy me, so be it. Do not hesitate to report about it. If the truth will destroy me, that’s the prize of being in public service. But I assure you, it could be something else, except money,” Duterte said. (PNA)