MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday urged public and private media practitioners to uphold the truth at all times.
In a speech at the relaunching of the Malacañang Press Briefing Room, Duterte told the Presidential Communications Group to "remain committed to the truth."
"Never exaggerate, never misinterpret, never agitate as you communicate our platform of governance. In other words, do not be arrogant," Duterte said.
The President urged the media to "never lie."
"Never confuse or search for answers with a need to engage the public through sensationalized news and overpublicized political propaganda," he said.
"There are so many things which I have been tempted in the past to blurt it out but for reasons of public interest, and maybe the prevailing sentiments, hinayaan ko na lang muna. Anyway, at the end of the day, lalabas naman ang totoo," he added.
Duterte has had a rocky relationship with the media on its reportage on the government's drug war.
The administration has several times defended the campaign, saying drug suspects killed in presumed-legitimate police operations had put up violent resistance.
According to government data (PDEA/PNP/NBI), a total of 3,811 alleged drug suspects were killed in anti-drug operations from July 1, 2016 to August 29, 2017.
Government data also said there were 6,225 drug-related killings from July 2016 and September 2017.
This is contrary to estimates by human rights organizations, which put the death toll at 9,000 to 10,000, figures that the government has said are bloated.
The Duterte administration has repeatedly denied that summary killings amid its drug war are state-sponsored.