Palace hits Ressa’s ’exaggerated’ remarks on press situation

MALACAÑANG on Monday, November 11, slammed Rappler chief Maria Ressa for “exaggerating” the working environment of journalists under President Rodrigo Duterte’s watch.

Ressa claimed that the Philippines, as a working place for a journalist, is “far worse than any war zone” that she has been.

“As Maria my friend is, one, she's always exaggerating,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo told Palace reporters.

In a recent interview with CBS News, Ressa noted that since Duterte assumed office in 2016, she has been called “every single animal you can think of.”

The Rappler chief also alleged that she and other journalists reporting on the Duterte administration’s performance “have been living through three years of this kind of hell.”

Rappler has been the subject of Duterte’s ire for supposed biased reporting.

Contrary to Ressa’s claim, Panelo said the country is “safe” for any journalist.

“As safe as you are,” he told reporters.

“That's their belief but the fact is every journalist, whether here or abroad, is free to cover any event in this country. And they come out alive and well and very good at reporting even if sometimes exaggerating,” Panelo added.

Panelo also emphasized that there is only a war zone “to those who are involved in drugs and who resist violently any warrant of arrest being served to them, or when they're the subject of a buy-bust operation and they violently resist as well as imperil the lives of the law enforcement officers.” (NASE/SunStar Philippines)