By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
Malacañang welcomed a study by an American think tank saying that the Philippines is second among 38 countries in terms of fairness and accuracy in news reports.
Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar the Pew Research Center study only proves that press freedom and freedom of expression is healthy in the country.
“Totoo naman ‘yan, at tayo’y natutuwa na masigla ang ating press freedom, freedom of expression dito po sa Pilipinas (That’s true and we are happy that we have a robust press freedom and freedom of expression here in the country),” he said in his radio program in state-run Radyo Pilipinas.
“Nakikita nga natin, araw-araw ho binabasa ko lahat ng diyaryo, pinapasadahan ko lahat ‘yan. Mayroong mga positive, mayroong mga negative… balanse (And we see that when I read the newspapers every day. We have positive and negative news. It’s balanced),” he added.
According to Andanar, media should stick to its role of not following what the government wants without question in order to keep government officials on their toes.
“Hindi subservient ang media dapat sa gobyerno. Dapat mayroon talaga silang press freedom to keep us in our toes, kami sa gobyerno (The media should not be subservient to the government. They should have press freedom in order to keep us on our toes). So that is really the role of media–checks and balances,” he said.
According to the Palace official, the Pew Research also proves President Duterte’s critics wrong that the administration is trying to suppress the media.
“Exactly the opposite. Mayroon tayong (We have) freedom of information, mayroon tayong (we have) Administrative Order No. 1 for the media security, at itong lumabas na research ngayon (and this research now),” Andanar said.
Based on the Pew Research, up to 86 percent of Filipinos believe that news reports are accurate, placing the Philippines second among 38 countries next to Tanzania which got 93 percent.
Seventy-eight percent of Filipinos said journalists cover politics fairly, making the Philippines second best next to Tanzania with 83 percent.
The Philippines ranked third after 83 percent of Filipinos said journalists are doing well in reporting about government leaders and officials. Tanzania is still at first with 89 percent, followed by Indonesia with 85 percent.
The Philippines placed fourth after 87 percent of Filipinos said journalists are doing well in covering the most important events. Tanzania is still ranked first with 92 percent; followed by Indonesia and the Netherlands both with 89 percent.
Last month, President Duterte acknowledged the role of media and expressed his close relationship with journalists.
“I am not your enemy. Your quest for truth, that’s your business, not mine,” he said during his speech. “At the end of the day, it’s not my property.”
“I want to be friends with you forever,” he added.
Duterte also acknowledged that the relationship between the media and the government, particularly him, will always be adversarial.
“Don’t worry about our relations, it’s always adversarial. Your truth is not my truth and everybody’s truth. Nothing satisfies the truth for the truth always hungers for more,” he said.
“Wala naman tayong galit [sa inyo] (I do not have anything against you). We do not fight with each other. I do not hate anybody here or else I will not be inviting you to my place,” he added.