Pooled Editorial: Sawen ti kinapudno iti bileg, bantayan ti turay

(May 3 is World Press Freedom Day, to commemorate this day and in solidarity, we are publishing here the Ilokano version of our pooled editorial with major press groups, outfits and journalists’ organizations in the Philippines ~ Ed.)

Radikal a binaliwan ken kinontrol ni Rodgrigo R. Duterte ti diskurso publiko a pabor iti panangidaulona iti wagas a nagubsang ken nadursok. Ti maysa a nakaledleddaang a resulta: linappedan ken pinaakikidna ti nagun-od a wayawaya ti press ken ti ipatpateg ti umili a karbengan iti pannakaammo (people’s right to know).

Iti umuna a 22 a bulanna iti turay, nagun-od ni Mr. Duterte ti mapagduaduaan a dayaw iti rekord a 85 a nadumaduma a kaso ti panangatake ken pamutbuteng kadagitoy dua a kinapateg nga itantandudo ti Konstitusion kas ti saan a maaagaw/maikkat a karbengan ti umili (inalienable rights of the citizens). Dagiti 85 a kaso ket adayo a nangatngato ngem iti nairekord iti uneg ti uppat a presidente sakbay kaniana.

Nagsisina ken nagtipon, dagitoy 85 a kaso ket nangikabil kadagiti adda iti media iti nakarkaro pay a peggad iti sidong ni Duterte.

Manipud Hunio 30, 2016 agingga Marso 30, 2018, dagitoy a kaso ket pakaibilangan ti panagpapatay iti 7 a dyurnalista, 16 a kaso ti libel, 14 a kaso ti pamutbuteng iti online, 11 a pamutbuteng a mapapatay, 6 a kaso ti pamutbuteng, 5 a kaso ti intimidasion, 4 a kaso ti website attack, panangkansela iti rehistrasion wenno saan a pannakaakseptar ti panagbaro iti prankisa, verbal a panagabuso, strafing, surveillance ti pulis kadagiti dyurnalista ken ahensia ti media.

Ipakpakita dagitoy a kaso ti puersa ti presidensial a turay a mangkonkontrol iti benneg ti politika, nga addaan nagagar a suporta manipud kadagiti alyado ken dinutokan ni Duterte, ken dagiti binayadanda a misinformation army online ken offline. Barbarsakenda ti insulto dagiti miembro ti press ken saan a maitutop nga awag/label, ken alegasion a korapsion ken aramid a linuluko nga awanan ti natibker a basaran iti kinapudno wenno iti linteg.

Dagitoy a kaso ket agbayag iti tengnga ti nakabasbassit a solusion manipud kadagiti ahensia ti estado, ken iti konteksto iti antagonistiko ken nakadakdakes a diskurso kontra kadagiti agdildillaw iti administrasion ken ti managamiris a media.

Nagmandar ti Presidente, iti saan pay a naar-aramid iti pakasaritaan, a panaglimita iti akses ti media kadagiti opisial a news events bayat a ti Kongreso ken dagiti ehekutibo nga ahensia ket saanda nga inakseptar wenno intantanda ti rehistrasion ti korporasion wenno dagiti prankisa a rekisito iti operasion dagiti kompania ti media.

Adda sumagmamano a dyurnalista ken grupo ti media ti nagireport iti surveillance ti pulis kadagiti tignayda ken kadagiti lugar ti trabahoda.

Dagiti atake iti wayawaya iti press ket panangtagibassit saan laeng nga iti news media. Daytoy ket panangpakapsut iti kapasidad ti news media tapno pagtalinaeden ti nawaya a sinnukat iti kapanunotan maipanggep kadagiti isyu publiko. Ti sarado a kapanunotan ti presidente iti kritisismo ket naigameren nga aspeto ti panangidaulo ni Duterte. Bayat a saan laeng nga isuna ti chief executive a nagbalin a sensitibo iti kritisismo ti press, insigurado ni Duterte a maawatan ti tunggal maysa nga agmalas ken adda maaramid a dakes kadagiti kritikona.

Nupay kasta, inkari ni Duterte ti panagbalbaliw; rumbeng ngarud nga ibaga ti gobiernona iti umili no kaano ken sadinno a dumteng daytoy, ken no daytoy ket nangited ti nasaysayaat wenno nadakdakes a resulta. Ti nawaya a press/media ket mangpatpatalinaed ken mangpappapigsa iti demokrasia babaen ti panangipakaammo kadagiti umili ken botante maipanggep iti no ania ken kasano nga agar-aramid ti nasayaat wenno dakes dagiti impatugawda iti turay.

Ngem saan pay a kasta ti kasasaad iti babaen ni Duterte. Mapabpabutengan, malaplappedan ken mapangpangtaan nga adda pamaayanna, napalalo a mapilpilitan ti news media a nasayaat ken naan-anay a mangireport iti gubat iti droga, ti panagkubkob iti Marawi, dagiti kaso nga alegasion iti korapsion iti nangato nga opisina, dagiti saludsod maipanggep iti kinabaknang ti pamilia Duterte, ti debate a publiko mainaig iti Charter change ken federalismo, ti panangiserra iti Boracay, ken ti saan a bassit a banag, ti panagdarup ti China iti West Philippine Sea.

Inwasiwas ni Rodrigo R. Duterte ti bileg ti buteng. Dagiti pamutbuteng ken atakena ket padagsen a baklay ti opisinana, ti kangatuan iti pagilian. Saanen a kasapulan a padasen dagiti konstitusional a limitasion. Ti kasla kayatna laeng nga aramiden ket ipakaawat kadagiti dyurnalista a rumbeng laeng a mabutengda unay.

Ngem, kas ti buteng, ti tured ket makaakar met. Saan a kas ti buteng a makapakapsut, ti tured a napartuat babaen ti bileg ti kinapudno ken panagkaykaysa ti amin a media ket isu ti puersa a mangpabileg.

Ti tumakder a natibker ken ti nagkaykaysa a tumakder para iti wayawaya ti press ken demokrasia, ti panagsao iti kinapudno iti adda iti bileg ken ti panagbantay iti turay – daytoy ti obligasion ti press iti umili. Sinnoman ti presidente, ti kapapategan a rebbengen ti nawaya a press iti demokrasia ket ti panangsalaknib ken panangitandudo iti people’s right to know, kakuyog ti awan-patengga a kinatured ken panagkaykaysa.#


Speak Truth to Power, Keep Power in Check

RODRIGO R. Duterte’s presidency has altered and controlled the public discourse so radically in its favor in ways rude and bold. One tragic result: it has restricted and narrowed the celebrated freedom of the Philippine press and the people’s cherished right to know.

In his first 22 months in power, Mr. Duterte has earned the dubious honor of logging 85 various cases of attacks and threats on these dual values that the Constitution upholds as inalienable rights of the citizens. The number far exceeds those recorded under four presidents before him.

Separately and together, these 85 cases have made the practice of journalism an even more dangerous endeavor under Duterte.

From June 30, 2016 to May 1, 2018, these cases include the killing of 9 journalists, 16 libel cases, 14 cases of online harassment, 11 death threats, 6 slay attempts, 6 cases of harassment, 5 cases of intimidation, 4 cases of website attack, revoked registration or denied franchise renewal, verbal abuse, strafing, and police surveillance of journalists and media agencies.

These cases project the force of presidential power dominating the political sphere, with zealous support from Duterte allies and appointees, and their sponsored misinformation army online and off. They have hurled at members of the press insults and unfair labels, and allegations of corruption and misconduct without firm basis in fact or in law.

These cases linger amid effete efforts at solution by state agencies, and in the context of the hostile and vicious discourse against the administration’s critics and the critical media.

The President, Cabinet members, and the House of Representatives have imposed and proposed unprecedented restrictions on journalist access to official news events. Congress and executive agencies have denied or delayed the corporate registration or franchises required for operation of media companies.

Some journalists and media groups have also reported police surveillance of their movement and their places of work.

Attacks on press freedom diminish not just the news media. These weaken the capacity of the news media to sustain the people’s unfettered exchange of ideas about public issues. Presidential intolerance of criticism is now a well established aspect of Duterte’s leadership. While he is not the only chief executive who has become sensitive to press criticism, Duterte has made sure that everyone understands that misfortunes could hound and befall his critics.

And yet Duterte had promised change; his government should thus tell the people when and where change has come to fruition, and whether it has triggered better or worse results. By keeping citizens and voters fully informed about what and how those they have raised to power are doing right or wrong, a free press sustains and strengthens democracy.

That is not quite the situation under Duterte as yet. Intimidated, restrained, and threatened with consequences, the news media have been significantly constrained to report well and fully on the war on drugs, the siege of Marawi, cases of alleged corruption in high office, questions about the wealth of the Duterte family, the public debate on Charter change and federalism, the shutdown of Boracay, and not the least significant, the incursions of China in the West Philippine Sea.

Rodrigo R. Duterte has brandished the power of fear. His threats and attacks bear the full weight of his office, the highest in the land. No need to test constitutional limits. All he seems to want to do is to make enough journalists understand that they should be very afraid.

But, like fear, courage could be contagious. And unlike fear that disempowers, courage built on the power of truth and the unity of all in media is a force that empowers.

To stand firm and to stand united for press freedom and democracy, to speak truth to power and to keep power in check — this much the press owes the people. And whoever is president, the paramount duty of a free press in a democracy is to defend and uphold the people’s right to know, with unqualified courage and unity. # nordis.net


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