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Veteran journo: Duterte, media should adjust to each other

By ALI IAN MARCELINO V. BIONG

photo by KRISTELA DANIELLE S. BOO

PRESIDENT RODRIGO Duterte should improve his manner of speaking while journalists should cope with his communication style, veteran journalist Crispin Maslog said in the 50th St. Thomas More Lecture held Thursday.

The Journalism alumnus said Duterte’s “barkada style” of public speaking is inappropriate for a high-ranking government official, noting that he should be sensitive to his audience.

“I don’t think that he should have a one-size-fits-all communication style. ‘Yan ang problema niya. When you’re talking to heads of states, you don’t insult them like ‘You son of a bitch.’ That is not the proper way. […] He should learn how to adjust his communication style,” Maslog said.

The President should be mindful of his tirades against the media, he added.

“It (Duterte’s relationship with the media) reminds me of President (Donald) Trump. Every time he talks to the media, he calls them fake. So how can you expect him to have a civil relation with the media?” Maslog said.

In January, Duterte called online news site Rappler a “fake news outlet” after it published a story involving Special Assistant to the President Bong Go.

The chairperson of the Asian Media Information and Communication Centre remarked on how the media reports Duterte’s jokes as truth, saying journalists should learn how to cover Duterte.

“As a matter of fact, in the beginning when he was still new president, when he was making these jokes to the media, they took him seriously, and that became a problem because they did not know his style as a mayor was like that and he carried it over to the national scene. National newspapers took him seriously when it should not have been,” Maslog said.

In a speech on Feb. 7, Duterte ordered government troops to shoot female rebels in the vagina, saying if they do so, the rebels “will be useless.” The president then defended his remarks, saying it was only “sarcasm.”

Journalists should conduct seminars on proper reportage on the President, Maslog said.

Themed “A Mission for All Seasons: Defending Democracy and Decency,” the annual lecture was organized by the Faculty of Arts and Letters and was held in honor of the Faculty’s patron saint, St. Thomas More. F

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