Cebu Citizens-Press Council

Being accountable comes with being free

CCPC laments ‘gospel of death’ of president-elect

June 3rd, 2016 · No Comments

By Justin K. Vestil

Journalists in Cebu condemned the recent statement of President-elect Rodrigo Duterte justifying the murder of corrupt journalists.

In a statement, the Cebu Citizens Press-Council (CCPC) lamented that the incoming president refuses to abandon the “gospel of death” that he preached during the campaign period.

Atty. Pachico Seares, CCPC executive director and Sun. Star Cebu’s Public and Standards editor, urged Duterte to uphold the rule of law once he assumes office.

“Most journalists recognize corruption as a major ill plaguing the media industry. But for the president-elect to encourage murder as solution assaults the oath he took as a lawyer, as mayor, and soon as president of the country. And that oath is to uphold the law,” Seares added.

For journalism professors in Cebu, Duterte’s statements on killing journalists because they are corrupt could create a “chilling effect.”

Mayette Tabada, a professor and coordinator of the University of the Philippine Cebu’s Mass Communication department, said Duterte should review his words carefully.

Tabada, who is also a columnist for Sun.Star Cebu, said that while there are corrupt journalists, killing them is not a sound solution.

“There are legal ways to pursue against corrupt journalists like reporting them to their respective newsrooms. There are also media organizations like CCPC that take complaints against erring journalists. What is important is they present proof and not take the law into their own hands,” she said.

In a separate interview, Nestor Ramirez, chairman of the University of San Jose-Recoletos’s Department of Journalism and Communications, said killing journalists is wrong even though he agrees with Duterte that journalists must observe ethical practices.

“Killing is not good, even if the journalist does something wrong, he or she is still entitled to due process,” Ramirez said.

For his part, journalist and professor Joseph Elvir Tubilan believes Duterte’s words against the media should serve as a reminder to members of the academe to strengthening the teaching of media ethics to their students.

Tubilan, a reporter of Sun.Star Superbalita and current adviser of the Cebu Normal University’s communication program, said journalists should report the truth.

(This article was published in Sun.Star Cebu on June 3, 2016.)

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