Continued from “Rodrigo Duterte and his love-hate relationship with the media Part 1“
A second chance?
While Duterte’s critics accuse him of turning on the fourth estate with his media boycott (which already started during his thanksgiving party last June 3), Senate President Franklin Drilon has expressed confidence that the incoming president will come around in time, saying both need each other for the sake of democracy.
Senators Sonny Angara and Tito Sotto were also optimistic that Duterte’s decision to not grant media interviews until the end of his term will come to pass, citing how previous presidents rarely gave regular press conferences anyway, with their spokespersons usually taking care of the media’s concerns. Angara also said that this might even enable the president to focus more on his duties, since it would be difficult if press cons consumed most of his time.
Dealing with Digong
While everyone awaits the time that Duterte will change his mind, Vincent Lazatin of Media Nation and Transparency and Accountability Network (TAN) has some useful insights for the media when it comes to dealing with Duterte.
In an article by Jodesz Gavilan of the Rappler, Lazatin challenges journalists to cover Duterte differently and talk about the substance of what he’s trying to say, instead of reporting how he cusses. He says that by dropping the curses in stories, media consumers can focus on the real discussion of his plans, issues and policies that come with being a president.
“What we need are follow-up questions like he says he’s going to shut down Congress, how is he going to do that?” Lazatin pointed out. He also calls for getting over the fact that he’s foul-mouthed and deciding against printing that since it does not really add to the discussion.
Another way to cover Duterte, according to Lazatin, is by treating him as a “troll who says things just to provoke.” Possibly a deliberate strategy by the incoming president whenever he doesn’t want to answer a question, this could be handled by staying on track on the topics a journalist wants to cover. Hold him accountable and pin him down categorically on policies, positions on issues, among others.
And while people within Duterte’s circle have advised the media to be more discerning about the former’s statements, Lazatin insists that perhaps the incoming president should be more careful as the “words coming from the mouth of a president are gold.” The media, and the public in general, will hold him accountable for what he says, and leaving the public to decide whether or not a statement was said in jest is problematic.
Like it or not, the nation’s “relationship” with Rodrigo Roa Duterte will officially begin in a matter of days and will last for six years. It will not be without its hurdles, for sure, but here’s to hoping that these challenges will put the country back on its feet. In the mean time, let’s keep watch while Digong’s LQ with the media ensues and hopefully ends as in a teleserye.