Tags: AS | Philippines | Duterte | Journalist Killings

Media Groups Say Duterte's Comments Risk Lives, Urge Boycott

Thursday, 02 June 2016 05:18 AM

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — International media groups have joined the condemnation of Philippine President-elect Rodrigo Duterte's statement that many journalists have been killed in the country because they were corrupt and those who have done wrong are not exempt from assassination.

Reporters Without Borders expressed outrage and urged the Philippine media to boycott Duterte's news conferences until he issues a formal, public apology. The Committee to Protect Journalists said the remarks "apparently excusing extrajudicial killings threaten to make the Philippines into a killing field for journalists."

Duterte, whose term begins on June 30, said Tuesday many journalists have been killed in the country because they were involved in corrupt deals and turned against people who had paid them off. He did not cite any evidence or provide details, but said he knew one radio commentator who was killed in Davao city because he was "rotten."

The International Federation of Journalists says the Philippines has been the second-deadliest country for journalists since 1990, behind only war-torn Iraq. CPJ said the country ranks fourth on its impunity index, which spotlights countries where journalists are murdered and the killers go free.

Asked to comment on unsolved killings of journalists, he said many of those slain were paid to take sides on issues or had overly criticized people who couldn't tolerate personal attacks.

"Just because you're a journalist (doesn't mean) you're exempted from assassination if you're a son of a bitch," Duterte said. "Your freedom of expression cannot help you if you have done something wrong with the guy."

At one point during the news conference, he catcalled a female journalist who wanted to ask a question. He also told another reporter to "shut up" when the reporter tried to ask a question after he asked people in the room to listen to a song about him and his promise of genuine change.

"Not only are these statements unworthy of a president but they could also be regarded as violations of the law on defamation or even the law on inciting hatred and violence," said Benjamin Ismaïl, the head of RSF's Asia-Pacific desk. He urged media groups to pursue lawsuits and to boycott the Duterte administration's news conferences until a public apology is made.

Shawn Crispin, a CPJ senior Southeast Asia representative, urged Duterte to retract his comments and to signal that he intends to protect, not target, the press.

Local media groups have widely condemned Duterte's remarks.

"Mr. Duterte's crass pronouncement not only sullies the names and memories of all 176 of our colleagues who have been murdered since 1986," the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines said Tuesday. "He has also, in effect, declared open season to silence the media."

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International media groups have joined the condemnation of Philippine President-elect Rodrigo Duterte's statement that many journalists have been killed in the country because they were corrupt and those who have done wrong are not exempt from assassination.Reporters...
AS,Philippines,Duterte,Journalist Killings
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2016-18-02
Thursday, 02 June 2016 05:18 AM
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