PNoy needs ‘remedial classes’ on press freedom

THE youth group Anakbayan assailed President Benigno ‘Noynoy’ Aquino III today for the latter’s statement in which he said his ‘tirade’ in a media organization’s event last Friday was directed against the entire Philippine press and not just a single journalist.

In two media events last Friday, hosted by the TV network ABS-CBN and the broadsheet Businessworld, Aquino criticized the press for allegedly publishing negative stories.

Over the weekend however, Presidential Communications Group head Sonny Coloma said “the President’s admonition… applied not only to ABS-CBN… but to media in general”.

Vencer Crisostomo, national chairperson of Anakbayan, called the statements ‘an attack on press freedom’ and a sign of ‘an intolerant regime’.

“The stories which Aquino tag as “negative” are actually the real mirror of our society, the lives of ordinary citizens who are victimized by crime, or by poverty which pushes them to commit crime” said the youth leader.

He added:  “To tell the media what to report violates media independence and objectivity, its function and duty of independent scrutiny and ethical standards against any and especially a politician’s interests to influence reportage. An independent media is a pillar of democracy. To attack it is to discourage criticism and discussion essential in the system’s functioning”.

Crisostomo pointed that out that Aquino’s intolerance towards the media was indicative of his sincerity in solving the nation’s problems.

“Instead of recognizing the media’s role of being the conduit for the people to reach the government for the resolution of issues, Aquino disregards news unfavorable to him as negative statements. It shows that he is not willing to listen, see or improve the real state of the nation” he said.

The youth leader also called on the president to take ‘remedial classes in history’, saying that since his father, the late Ninoy Aquino, was a journalist, Noynoy should understand the importance of press freedom.

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