KBP refuses calls to boycott Duterte press conferences

Trishia Billones, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 03 2016 12:05 AM | Updated as of Sep 27 2016 04:57 PM

The Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP) on Thursaday said they are not heeding calls to boycott press conferences of President-elect Rodrigo Duterte after his statement on media killings.

In an interview with ANC's Dateline Philippines, KBP Chairman Herman Basbano said boycott "should not be the response to this censorious statement."

"May trabaho tayo, hindi natin pabayaan na dahil na may sinabing masama sa atin, hindi na tayo mag-cover. I don’t think that should be an option or a paradigm concerned," he said.

READ: Duterte declared an open season for murder: NPC 

The Paris-based non-government organization Reporters Without Borders issued a statement, expressing outrage at Duterte's comment and urging journalists to boycott his proceeding press conferences until he issues a public apology.

"Not only are these statements unworthy of a president but they could also be regarded as violations of the law on defamation or even the law on inciting hatred and violence," the statement read.

"We also urge the media to boycott the Duterte administration's news conferences until the media community gets a public apology," it followed.

The group also called on media organizations to initiate legal action against Duterte.

During Tuesday night's press conference, Duterte said many slain journalists were targeted because they were corrupt.

He said the constitutionally guaranteed freedom of the press cannot protect a journalist from getting killed especially if he is a “son of a b****.”

“Kaya namamatay kasi karamihan diyan nabayaran na. They take sides or sobrahan ang atake, getting personal,” Duterte said.

READ: Duterte not sorry for saying media 'not exempted' from killings 

Basbano, for his part, admitted that "there are really wayward members of the media," but maintained most journalists remain faithful to their commitment to report the truth.

"Baka ang impression ng iba, na maraming tiwali talaga. It’s not true. Most of the media men, including us in the broadcast, are still true to what we should do in order to serve the public," he said.

He added, KBP has an arm that addresses these issues of corruption and the option of bringing alleged corrupt members to court is open.

Basbano also called Duterte's statement "unfortunate and dangerous."

"Unfortunate because yun nga, maraming na-biktima sa atin at the performance of duty, at yun, maging iba ang impression at baka lisensya ito na baka patayin na lang yung mga members ng media," he said.

He also reacted to statements that upright members of the media should not be perturbed by Duterte's comment, as it raises questions on what actually qualifies an "upright" media personnel.

"In the eyes of criminals and some of the corrupt people, there’s no such thing as upright media when their interests are affected," he said.

READ: Duterte's wolf-whistling a compliment - Panelo