By Genalyn Kabiling
Malacañang is opposed to the foreign funding of some media entities, especially when such resources are supposedly used to “demonize” the government.
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo voiced the Palace position on foreign-funded media organizations while defending the legality of the grants and other funds obtained by the government from other nations.
“Kontra tayo kapag nagbibigay doon sa media na ginagamit iyong pondo para sirain ang pamahalaan [We are opposed when the money given to the media is used to discredit the government],” he said in a recent media interview at the Palace.
“Iyong mga pondo galing sa ibang foreign governments na grant, pabor sa pamahalaan at sa taumbayan iyon. But if a media outlet receives funding to demonize the government, siyempre ayaw natin iyon [The funds from foreign governments such as grant, the government and the people are amenable to that. But if a media outlet receives funding to demonize the government, of course we don’t like that],” he said.
Some journalists have reportedly slammed the government’s alleged double standard that criticizes media groups for receiving foreign funds even as the government also accepts aid from other nations.
Foreign funding is not equivalent to foreign ownership of for-profit media, Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) also reportedly said.
The PCIJ is among the groups recently implicated by the Palace in an alleged plot to discredit President Duterte by spreading videos that linked his family to the illegal drug trade. The group has denied the allegations.
Panelo, however, insisted that media companies must be fully owned by Filipinos because of a constitutional ban on foreign ownership in mass media.
The government accepting loans and grants from other countries, on the other hand, is not illegal, he added.
“Iyong foreign funding ng Rappler, eh illegal nga iyon eh, kasi dapat ang korporasyon eh Filipino lamang [The foreign funding of Rappler is illegal because the only Filipinos should own such corporation],” he said.
“Ang sinasabi niyang foreign funding, eh iba naman iyon – loans naman iyon; hindi illegal iyon, iyon ang kaibahan nun [The foreign funding, the loans however are not illegal. It’s different],” he said.
The President recently criticized some media organizations for being “professional twisters” funded by the west. He said they were “paid hacks” and “hyenas” dishing out lies against other people.
He also claimed that some of these media groups were depicting themselves as “victims” but are in such predicament “because of their own making.” “You know they have sponsors. They have admitted it. They cannot organize without the money of the Western (funding agencies),” he said.