Today's Punto
Today's Punto
A low point in pettiness

Mar 08, 2018

MALACANANG’S EXPANSION of the ban on Rappler’s coverage of President Rodrigo Duterte, which has now apparently gone beyond the Palace compound to include events elsewhere, including those otherwise accessible to the general public, marks a new low point in the chief executive’s by now well documented pettiness.

On Tuesday, Rappler reporter Pia Ranada, already barred from entering Malacañang, reported in a FacebookLive broadcast that she had also been denied access to a GoNegosyo event at the World Trade Center in Pasay City where Duterte was scheduled to speak.

Ranada said she had been informed by a staff member of the Palace’s Media Accreditation and Relations Office that aside from the ban from the Palace compound, she no longer could cover “all events involving the President inside or outside Malacañang.”

Her report included footage of her asking event staff if she could at least have a press release about the event only to be told that she could not because she did not have an event ID notwithstanding her press credentials and her continued membership in the Malacañang Press Corps.

Alas, Duterte and whoever has been off ering him stupid advice on this matter are utterly wrong if they think they can actually humiliate or totally prevent any journalist or media outfit worthy of the name from covering what are clearly events of utmost public interest and importance. As the saying goes, there are more than one ways to skin a cat.

But this show of vindictiveness is not just pathetically childish, more worrisome is it shows Duterte’s penchant for taking shortcuts in a case that is still pending before the courts. In short, it betrays his lack of respect for democratic institutions and processes.

We see no need to urge Rappler and Ms Ranada to stand firm for they have from the get-go. But we do reiterate our total support for them as they persist in carrying out their task of informing the public despite this government’s damnedest efforts to shut them down. We urge all independent journalists to close ranks and stand with Rappler in refusing to be silenced.

(Statement of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines dated March 6, 2018)

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