DAVAO CITY – The Presidential Security Group barred private television networks from airing yesterday’s “One Love, One Nation” thanksgiving party for president-elect Rodrigo R. Duterte in what journalists covering the incoming Chief Executive rued as part of his efforts to distance himself from media.
In a message that was circulated in text and Viber early yesterday, the PSG advised the media entities “to remove all media setups near the stage and prevent backpack video coverage insider the grass ground.” “RTVM (Radio-TV Malacanang) and PTV 4 only allowed,” the message read.
In another advisory sent later in the day, the media men were informed that “walang ko-cover sa harap ng stage except for PTV 4 and RTVM for security reasons.”
The advisory further instructed them to just “hook up with Manila PTV” for live feed of the DU31 (Duterte Won) party that was expected to be attended by more than 300,000 Davaeños and Duterte supporters from all over the country and even from abroad.
According to cameramen who were setting up at the venue early yesterday, they were asked by PSG personnel to vacate the platforms located on the left and right portion of the stage.
The TV crews were nevertheless allowed to remain in the premises but they had to relocate to an area about 500 meters from the stage.
Just last Thursday afternoon, the event’s organizers had called a meeting among the TV networks and other media entities which planned to air live coverage of the party. Among those discussed was the placement of cameras in front of the stage.
“But now, they suddenly ordered that we pull out from that agreed position,” said one of the cameramen of the Manila-based coverage teams.
The barring of live coverage of the event by private media entities came less than a day after Duterte’s special assistant, Christopher “Bong” Go, announced that the incoming president would no longer grant interviews or hold press conferences.
According to Go, all statements of Duterte would now be coursed through government station PTV, particularly its Malacañang reporter Rocky Ignacio.
He added it has not been decided whether or not this would extend until after Duterte formally assumes the presidency on June 30. “Tuwing magsasalita, baka hanapan ng mali,” Go explained.
Duterte had started to have a falling out with the media Friday when he angrily challenged journalists covering him to abandon their coverage and “leave Davao City.”
He was enraged because of earlier reports that media groups, both local and international, had asked colleagues covering the next president to boycott his press conferences because of his callous statement on slain journalists, his liberal use of foul language, and his alleged disrespect of a lady reporter. (Rocky Nazareno)