Palace bars Rappler reporter from covering Duterte
A reporter of Rappler, an online news agency, was barred from covering President Rodrigo Duterte in Malacanang on Tuesday.
Pia Ranada, Rappler's beat reporter, was stopped by members of the Presidential Security Group (PSG) from entering the Palace when she was supposed to cover the induction of new board of directors of the Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce Phils. Inc. to be led by Duterte .
Ranada said she was told it was Duterte who ordered her barred from covering him.
Quoting Jhopee Avancena, head of the Malacanang Internal Affairs Office, Ranada said she was told in a text message, "I was informed the PSG not to allow you to enter the Palace since I was instructed last night by the President."
Banning Ranada from covering Duterte came a day after Special Assistant to the President Christopher "Bong" Go accused Rappler and Inquirer of disseminating "fake news" about his supposed meddling in the P15-billion Navy frigate deal.
Earlier in the day, Ranada was stopped by a PSG member from entering Gate 2 of the Malacanang Complex where the New Executive Building (NEB) is located. NEB houses the press office and the briefing room.
But later, she was allowed to enter NEB and to attend the briefing of Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque.
During the briefing, Roque said until the Court of Appeals decides on Rappler's appeal over the decision of the Securities and Exchange Commission revoking the agency's license, Ranada could cover at least his briefings.
"But after the Court of Appeals decides, and if the decision of the SEC is sustained, Rappler would have to transfer to FOCAP (Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines)," he said.
"The worst case scenario even if you’re barred, is you can cover the press briefings because we’re televised live," he said.
Roque also said the action against Ranada was not a violation of freedom of the press. "There’s no denial of press freedom. We’re televised," he said. Celerina Monte/DMS