MANILA— President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. on Thursday vowed his administration would protect the rights of media practitioners, and ensured there would be freedom of expression under his watch.
During the 50th anniversary event of the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP), Marcos noted the country’s ranking at the 2022 World Press Freedom Index – currently at the 147th spot – adding his willingness to “improve that present condition.”
The Chief Executive noted the importance of the press in reporting events and issues of public interest, making it instrumental in informing the people.
“As a testament to our oneness with the international community, we shall work hard, hand in hand with you to… climb our way up in those rankings,” Marcos said in his speech.
“For its part, this government will remain committed to ensuring transparency and good governance, freedom of expression and of the press, and the protection of media practitioners and their rights in the practice of their profession,” he added.
Last year’s World Press Freedom Index by watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF) noted the closure of ABS-CBN in 2020, leading to dozens of radio stations and TV channels being shuttered as well.
It also said Filipino journalists have also seen the return of what they described as red-tagging that brands them as subversive elements and opens them to arbitrary arrest.
MARCOS LAMENTS FAKE NEWS
Meanwhile, Marcos lamented the proliferation of fake news and misinformation, but admitted "these are all the negative effects of technological advancements and social media."
He said this is expected considering that social media has become a powerful tool, “and like any powerful tool, it cuts both ways.”
This was why the President urged the KBP to bring a "measure of stability, a measure of objectivity to help our people discern what is real information and what is propaganda.”
“The press and broadcast media are instrumental not only in informing the citizenry, but also in shaping public opinion and even triggering social mobilization and change,” he said.
Malacañang last month said the Marcos administration will be implementing a digital media literacy campaign to battle disinformation.
Presidential Communications Office (PCO) Undersecretary Cherbett Karen Maralit had said the anti-disinformation campaign would equip Filipinos from vulnerable communities with knowledge and tools "to be discerning of the truth."
During the 2022 elections, Marcos Jr.'s presidential campaign was criticized for allegedly employing disinformation to revamp his family name, particularly by whitewashing the martial rule of his father and namesake, late former President Ferdinand Marcos Sr.
As Marcos Jr. became the frontrunner in the May 2022 polls, Agence France-Presse reported that many pro-Marcos misinformation targets were targeting his then main rival, former Vice President Leni Robredo.
Marcos Jr. had denied the allegations.
Video from PTV