Malacañang recognizes role of media, deplores assault on journalists

The Palace has disagreed with the contention that media killings may be justified if reporters and columnists are engaged in corruption, noting that everyone has the right to due process.

“We recognize the vital role played by journalists as purveyors of information in a democratic society. As citizens, they have a fundamental right to due process and equal protection of the laws of the land,” Communication Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. said in a statement issued on Wednesday.

“Hence, we deplore the proposition that some journalists may have been assaulted or killed in view of their alleged involvement in media corruption. It is the duty of government to arrest, prosecute and punish those responsible for violence against members of the media.”

In a press conference in Davao City on Tuesday, President-elect Rodrigo Duterte said slain journalists in the Philippines had been corrupt and had “done something” to warrant being killed.

Duterte, who will be sworn in as president on June 30, was responding to a question about how he would handle the killing of journalists in the country.

He said many slain journalists had accepted bribes or criticized people, who then retaliated through violent attacks.

Journalists who defamed others were not necessarily protected from such attacks, he said.

The Philippines ranks as the second-deadliest country for journalists, the Committee to Protect Journalists has said, noting that at least 75 journalists have been killed in the country since 1992. PND (as)