Saturday, December 15

Focus on duties despite attacks on press, Palace reporters tell student journos

By ANGEL B. DUKHA III

L-R: ABS-CBN News reporter Dharel Placido, Rappler reporter Pia Ranada, The Manila Times repoter Ralph Villanueva. photo by SHANA ANGELA S. CERVANIA/ THE FLAME

MALACAÑANG REPORTERS urged journalism students on Monday to continue performing their duties despite the continuous attacks of the Duterte administration on the press.

Rappler Palace reporter Pia Ranada reminded students that journalists should not disregard the rules and journalism ethics despite the attacks of the government on the press.

“[E]ven if the government is vindictive, media cannot be vindictive. Just because the government has become an existential threat for us, it doesn’t mean that we also have to throw away the rules and just write whatever negative things about the government, make up stories, fake news, siraan lang ‘yung government,” she said.

“[T]hat’s exactly why it’s hard to fight this fight, because they’re not playing by the rules, but we have to play by the rules. Once we don’t play by the rules, we’ve already lost the battle, we’ve lost the war,” she added.

Manila Times Malacañang reporter Ralph Villanueva encouraged budding journalists to be brave and to stick to what they learned in college about journalism ethics.

“[Si] Mocha Uson nga noon tinawag na “presstitutes” ‘yung mga journalist, pero we should not be rattled by that. We should not be scared by the threats. We should just continue doing our vocation and our job,” he urged.

State of Philippine media

Ranada, who was banned in February from covering the Malacañang and other presidential events, slammed former Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque for claiming to respect “the free marketplace of ideas,” saying that the statement is contradictory to what the government is doing.

“How can you respect the marketplace of views if you won’t allow one idea to exist? Contradictory ‘yun. Even if puwede naman manood ng live stream [or] panoorin sa TV yung press conferences, iba pa rin ‘yung you have a reporter who’s there. [W]e’re limited to what the camera shows us,” she said.

Hindi ako makatanong […] in person. [I]ba pa rin ‘yung you’re there, ‘cause you can follow up questions. […] You might say, ‘Pero isang reporter lang ‘yan’ but actually, that one reporter represents an entire viewpoint that [is] unique,” she added.

Ranada also noted that it is the government that has changed through the years and not the media, which she says has never stopped fulfilling its watchdog role.

“[M]edia itself hasn’t changed. We’re still doing what we’ve been doing all these years: being critical of the government, writing stories the way we do. It’s really the government […] and how they view media [that changed],” she said.

The forum titled Talakayan: A round-table discussion on the state of media under the Duterte administration was organized by the UST Journalism Society and held at the Central Laboratory Auditorium. F

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