'Chaotic:' Media experts wary of Marcos Jr.'s media treatment

Davinci Maru, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 27 2022 04:23 PM

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MANILA — A media watchdog does not find president-elect Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr's exclusion of other news organizations in his latest presser surprising, saying that Marcos had only talked to media outlets he liked even during the campaign period.

According to Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility trustee Vergel Santos, Marcos' relationship to the press will only worsen during his presidency.

"Is anyone surprised? We're given a foretaste of this during the campaign. He only talked to networks and news organizations that he liked to talk to," he told ANC's "Rundown" Friday.

"I think things will be worse during his presidency especially considering his prospective Secretary of Justice who doesn't seem to have a like-minded idea as we do of what is press freedom is all about, which is the highest ranked, to me, freedom in the democratic institution."

Santos said Marcos' treatment to the media "is a replication of the Duterte government."

For University of the Philippines Diliman Journalism Professor Danilo Arao, the Marcos administration is already having a credibility crisis with its latest media engagement and appointments.

"It's hard to understand their media policy and how they will handle the press especially considering the fact that they plan to also incorporate content creators and influencers and vloggers into press briefings and coverage of the incoming President's activities," he said.

"So, it's very chaotic to say the least."

But the president-elect's camp said Marcos Jr. will not have a selective policy that would "exclude dear friends from the media" from presidential briefings.

This, even after the incoming chief executive's first press conference post-proclamation was limited to 3 networks.

"Ang tanging kadahilanan lamang kung bakit nagpaunlak si Pres. Bongbong Marcos, sapagkat ito yung media commitment na binigay ng aming media team sa 3 network noong kampaniya," Atty. Vic Rodriguez said.

"We did not do it na one-on-one. To be fair, pinagsabay-sabay natin yung 3 network na noon pa man ay nagpahayag ng kanilang interest," he said.

Marcos' camp earlier told reporters that his media center in Mandaluyong would be closed on May 26, but later announced that a press conference would be live streamed on the President-elect's official Facebook page.

Only reporters from GMA, Net 25, and SMNI were invited to physically attend and ask questions at the press conference on Thursday morning, Rodriguez confirmed.

Marcos answered questions about Cabinet appointments, his stance on the West Philippine Sea issue with China, his proposed solutions to high oil prices, as well as improving the country's agricultural sector.

But questions about his contempt order in the United States, which may affect his travel to several functions as President, as well as his family's P203 billion estate tax debt were not raised.