Monday, January 22, 2018

Int'l news director blasts Rappler, says anti-Dutertes run out of ideas thereby lying about press freedom

In one of its reports, the international news site Eurasia Future talked about the current hottest issue in the Philippines: Revocation of Rappler's license as directed by the Security and Exchange Commission or SEC.
Eurasia Future Director Adam Garrie | Photo from Google

Written by the Eurasia Future's director himself, Adam Garrie, he began the article by saying the country is 'currently gripped in what can only be described as a very American style scandal regarding freedom of the press and honesty within the press'.

'The news and option website Rappler has come under fire from law enforcement, due to the fact that it is partially owned and financed by foreign money', he added.

Director Garrie then mentioned about the legal grounds that lead the said commission to revoke the license of the country's news site.

'The 1986 Constitution of The Philippines which ushered in the post-Marcos era, makes it clear that any partial or full foreign ownership/funding of large news outlets based in the country is illegal.'

According to Garrie, Rappler is just maintaining its innocence by reasoning out that their operation is legal because 'foreign shareholders do not constitute equity in the company nor influence over editorial policy'.

Further, the Eurasia Future director and author said the battle that should have been between the lawyers concerning the 'technicalities of a long established law' has become a 'self-styled battle over “free speech”'.

The author continued stating that President Rodrigo Duterte’s approval rating remains positive with over 70% based on 'conservative estimates' whereas each Duterte policies, both local and foreign, affairs are steadily on top, respectively.

Garrie also wrote that the impressive impact of Duterte in the world of politics has become a 'battle of ideas' of which President Duterte's opponents 'bring less and less to the table'. Thus, causing his opponents to resort to what Garrie calls 'time tested American practice' of putting their rival’s ethics in scrutiny instead of focusing on his policies.

The international news site's director went on saying that those supporting Rappler are the same people supporting the Philippine's Liberal Party who claimed that the incumbent administration is in attempt to “shut down” the media outlet due to its editorial position that are critical to the president  of which Garrie added that they are the same protesters who turn a blind eye to the mere fact that Rappler itself does not actually deny foreign investment, however, they keep on saying that their understanding with regard to the Constitutional law in question is different from that of the law enforcement authorities.

Eurasia Future's director also said that the free speech here in the country is healthier than it has ever been. Adding that 'Rodrigo Duterte’s country is one that has overcome both the pro-US dictatorial Marcos years and also the once unshakeable grip of overly US reliant and highly corrupt politicians who came to power after Marcos was toppled in 1986'.

Meanwhile, the author recognized just how influential our incumbent president has become as his leadership 'invigorated the country' by bringing 'a new sense of confidence, a new willingness to discuss the big issues and even a more robust opposition'.

He also wrote that our politicos who felt entitled because of their rights have now realized that their power must come from the people of which in turn makes them more outspoken anent topical issues. This is despite only few of them have any ideas on how to actually contradict the president apart from the yellow supporters, he said.

As per Garrie, the Filipinos who are yellow-loyalists do not lose their right to speak at all, only their popularity. He also cited that both the social media and“new media” (as he calls it) is full with intelligent arguments that are 'impassioned, informed and genuine' which eventually makes Duterte’s opponents envious.

Sharing his first-hand experience, Adam said it  lead him to understanding that when it comes to politics, we, Filipinos, are far more engaged compared to North Americans or Europeans.

To Garrie, the Filipino Liberals accuse him of being a dictator because the Liberal Party cannot offer any other solution better than what Duterte have had. There's this rapprochement with China, cordial relations with Russia, anti-crime and anti-oligarch drive that bolstered infrastructural  investment, anti-colonial foreign policy, education reforms and proposed Federal system.

He also mentioned that 'Ironically, even if Duterte wanted to further consolidate power, he would still likely retain his popularity. In many ways, this might even make him more popular. Democracy does not imply suffrage nor does it imply anything to do with free speech laws. Democracy simply means “rule of the people” and if Duterte rules for the people, with their approval–he is de-facto democratic. This is a technical sticking point that makes the opponents of any popular leader deeply uncomfortable because it means they cannot hide behind platitudes and false definitions of democracy'.

In his report's conclusion, the same said 'In any case, Duterte has stated over and over again that he does not plan to change any voting laws or free speech laws in the country and has in the past, even spoken to protesters face to face, regarding their grievances. The matter of Rappler is a matter for lawyers and judges, but the matter of free speech is self-evident. Filipinos have never been more free to speak out on political issues. It is the fact that the majority of the people speak in favour of Duterte that has the yellow politicians and journalists frightened and looking for scandals where none exist'.
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte | Photo from Google

Source: Eurasia Future

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