Media watchdog tags Duterte as ‘press freedom predator’

·Contributor
·1 min read
FILE PHOTO: President Rodrigo Duterte checks the scope of a 7.62mm sniper rifle during the turnover ceremony of China's urgent military assistance given
FILE PHOTO: President Rodrigo Duterte checks the scope of a 7.62mm sniper rifle during the turnover ceremony of China's urgent military assistance given "gratis" to the Philippines, at Clark Air Base, June 28, 2017. (Source: REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco)

President Rodrigo Duterte made it to a worldwide watchdog's 2021 list of "press freedom predators" for waging a "total war" against independent media.

According to a gallery issued by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) on Monday (July 5), Duterte is one of 37 world leaders "who crack down heavily on press freedom."

RSF described how Duterte targeted several media organizations.

Under his term, the country's most widely circulated daily, Philippine Daily Inquirer was purchased and its journalists were “brought to heel.” RSF also called attention to how ABS-CBN, the country's leading broadcast network, was targeted next. The “evercompliant congress” effectively shut down the broadcast giant in July 2020 by rejecting its bid for a franchise renewal. 

RSF highlighted how Duterte cracked down on the “last bastion of press freedom” in the country, the Rappler news website and its CEO, Maria Ressa who is being hounded by lawsuits from Duterte's cronies. Ressa might face sentences of up to 100 years in prison.

According to RSF, Duterte has been a predator since he took office in June 2016.

Ana Catalina Paje is a development journalist passionate about grassroots communication geared towards genuine social change. She also writes about showbiz, lifestyle, and all things Pinoy pride. The views expressed are her own.

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