IT was shocking for international human rights lawyer Amal Alamuddin Clooney, whose fame was boosted by her marriage to the actor George Clooney, to casually portray Philippine media as being subjugated as that of North Korea or targeted for attack by an “autocratic” regime as that of Myanmar.
What makes Clooney’s remarks so damaging for the country is that they were made in an international event, the United Nations Correspondents Association Awards in New York last week, and in the course of bashing the US president, Donald Trump.
Claiming that the press globally is under attack as never before, Clooney said: “The chilling effect is real and it has already been felt, not only in Myanmar but further afield as…by autocratic regimes from North Korea to the Philippines… The US President has given such regimes a green light and labelled the press in this country the enemy of the people.”
We should protest such atrocious claims by Clooney. It just boggles the mind that we are compared to North Korea, ruled by a one-man dictator where all media outlets are controlled by the state. It just boggles the mind that we are compared to Myanmar, where a judge in September convicted three Reuters correspondents to seven years in prison for allegedly violating that country’s laws in their reportage.
How could the Philippine press be like the state-controlled media in North Korea when anti-government outfits like the Philippine Daily Inquirer have not let up in their penchant for spinning news events so President Duterte is portrayed as an autocrat, and his allies as corrupt?
…When the largest newspaper in the country, with a mass following that dwarfs all the other broadsheets, has its editor writing daily columns which do not miss a single day badmouthing Duterte in the most vulgar manner that throws reason to the garbage? (Example: “Paninira, pagmumura at pang-aalipusta ni P-DU30 sa Simbahan, pantakip sa kapalpakan ng administrasyon?”)
…When the three biggest broadcast companies — ABS-CBN, GMA7 and Channel 5 — control 80 percent of the country’s viewership, all of which jump at the slightest excuse to criticize this administration?