MANILA — Kontra Daya Convenor and University of the Philippines (UP) journalism Professor Danilo Arao warned the media against tough times under Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s presidency as disinformation “may become more widespread.” At the Balitaan sa Maynila forum last May 15.
“Ang nakikita po natin under a Marcos administration, baka mas maging institutionalized na iyong disinformation,” Arao said.
“Kasi nariyan na ang government media at his disposal… troll army at kanyang disinformation network through social media na talagang di magde-deactivate eh. In fact, baka mas ma-re-configure pa yan para ang disinformation army niya ay ma-integrate sa gobyerno,” he added.
Arao said the media has to “brace for the worst” as Marcos Jr. looks up to his father, noting that it is also possible the administration may use government resources against the press.
“Posible na si Marcos di mag-i-impose formally ng martial law, pero iwe- weaponize niya yung bureaucracy at batas sa media— libel … tax audit,” he said.
In a report by ABS-CBN News, Arao said the “chilling effect” on the media may continue as another Duterte will take the country’s second top post.
“Baka kasi makita natin ang continuity especially in the situation na si Sara Duterte-Carpio … malaki ang pressure. Alam naman natin na may chilling effect sa media kapag iyong ibang news media organizations under attack like ABS-CBN, Rappler, to some extent the Philippine Daily Inquirer,” he said.
Arao is urging the media to bolster the culture of fact-checking and to make sure that the Marcoses would not abuse any of their powers to suppress the media.”
“Sana huwag matakot iyong media sa kanyang saligang tungkulin na maging boses ng walang boses,” he said.
“Don’t expect good treatment”
During a virtual press conference organized by the Partido Lakas ng Masa, Bukluran ng Mangagagawang Pilipino and Sanlakas on May 12, presidential candidate Ka Leody de Guzman has warned the media to “not expect good treatment” under the Marcos Jr. presidency.
“Wala kang i-e-expect na matinong pagtrato sa media sa mga dynastic-minded. Sasagasaan niya ang anumang batas na nagbibigay proteksyon sa media at sa taumbayan,” he said.
“Dahil ang mga dynastic-minded ay wala naman talagang intensyon na paunlarin ang bansang ito, paunlarin ang demokrasya. Ang mga dynasty ang pinauunlad ay yung kayamanan nila, yung kanilang patuloy na paghahari sa bansa,” he added.
Senatorial aspirant and lawyer Luke Espiritu from De Guzman’s Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM) slate said Marcos Jr.’s handling of the media during the campaign “is only an indication” of how the press people will be treated in the next six years.
“Pag hindi sumasagot sa media, ibig sabihin, ayaw maging accountable sa public scrutiny… ’Yan ‘yung behavior ng mga tao o mga lider na magpapasara ng media, magbubusal ng bibig ng mga media men, mga media personnel,” he said.
“Kaya ingat kayo … dahil the writing is very clear. The writing is on the wall. ‘Yan ay magiging repressive na regime, yung Marcos-Duterte tandem na ‘yan. It will be repressive and contemptuous of media, of free speech, of free press,” he added.
Espiritu’s statement follows Marcos Jr.’s spokesperson Vic Rodriguez’s reaction or non-reaction to the question of Rappler reporter Lian Buan during a press conference at the Marcos headquarters in Mandaluyong City last May 11.
Buan, who experienced both on-the-ground and online harassment while covering a Marcos Jr. campaign sortie last April, asked about a pending contempt order against the presumptive president at a US Court and the status of President Rodrigo Duterte-declared National Day of Protest on September 21.
“Next question” was Rodriguez’s answer while completely ignoring Buan.
In a report by ABS-CBN News, De Guzman’s running mate and vice-presidential aspirant Walden Bello labeled Buan’s questions as relevant and needed to be asked and warned that there “will be a great deal of management of the media that will take place” under Marcos
“Marami talagang kailangang tanungin ngayon. Anong mangyayari sa February 25 EDSA uprising celebration? Anong mangyayari sa September 21? Anong mangyayari sa Ninoy Aquino International Airport? Will they change that to Ferdinand Edralin Marcos International Airport? These are very serious issues at this point in time,” he said.