Duterte's coverage ban violates press freedom - CMFR

ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 01 2019 02:10 PM

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MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte's ban on news website Rappler from covering his events violates press freedom, according to the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility.

"This is an undermining of constitutional freedom, freedom of the press, and therefore this involves all of us practitioners and this is unconstitutional," Vergel Santos, chairman of the CMFR board, said on ANC’s Headstart Wednesday.

On Tuesday, 41 journalists signed a petition before the Supreme Court in support of Rappler's plea to end Duterte's ban.

In the same interview, Rappler reporter Pia Ranada said the ban is not just in Malacanang, but in all of the President's events.

She noted that while there is presidential prerogative, journalists also have a higher principle of constitutional rights.
 
"We feel that press freedom, which is enshrined in the 1987 Constitution, is being violated by the ban. Presidential prerogative has to stop when rights are already being stepped upon," Ranada said.

Other presidents have banned journalists from covering them too. Last year the White House banned CNN reporter Jim Acosta after a heated confrontation with President Donald Trump during a news conference.

Santos said a ban on reporters is wrong, whether it’s done by Trump or any other president. 

"I think the president should understand the terms of engagement. The institutional terms of engagement in the relationship between media and the government. The Constitution itself has enshrined the media as an institutional watchdog on government and therefore whatever arrangement in the relationship have to be decided in consultation with each other," he said.

He added, "If you want to ban a reporter from Malacanang, it had better be a ban on some physical or function reason."

- ANC Headstart, 1 May 2019