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Media watchdog: Duterte attack a historic low for highest office

April 3, 2017 ·  By Philippine Daily Inquirer for newsinfo.inquirer.net

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INQUIRER PHOTO/JOAN BONDOC

INQUIRER PHOTO/JOAN BONDOC

President Rodrigo Duterte’s expletive-laden attacks on the media have brought the presidency to a historic low, the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR) said on Friday.

“Made publicly and without any bases whatsoever, the President’s allegations against the media constitute verbal abuse — the cheapest form of harassment and intimidation that has brought the highest office to a historic low,” the media watchdog said in a statement.

The CMFR said that it takes exception to, and strongly disputes Duterte’s accusations against the media and his allegations of political and pecuniary motives in their coverage.

Duterte in an expletive-laced speech on Thursday accused the Philippine Daily Inquirer and ABS-CBN of putting out “slanted” reports against him.

Despite Malacañang’s clarification that Duterte’s tirade against the two media outfits was not an attack on Philippine journalism, the CMFR said that the President’s accusation was “an attack against the institution and the country’s community of journalists.”

“The virulence and viciousness of his language are an abuse of power, a stain on the freedom of our public forum,” the CMFR said.

“The media are doing their institutional duty—to reveal the truth in the public interest. The practice is protected by constitutional rights and held responsible under the law for any proven wrongdoing,” it added.

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines, earlier called Duterte’s statements “absolutely twisted.” —ED MARGARETH BARAHAN

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