Malacañang on Sunday denied peddling false and misleading information following a study which claimed that state-sponsored propaganda in the Philippines has led to the “silencing, self-censorship, and chilling effects among dissenters and the public at large.”
The study by North Atlantic Treaty Organization said the state-sponsored propaganda model assumes “intentionality from the President himself to intimidate and harass his critics.”
“This involves him deploying the fake news label in tirades against mainstream media. His outbursts are usually a response to their unsavory reports of the government and his policies, most notably the war on drugs,” the study read.
“His message is taken forward by his so-called ‘keyboard army,’ consisting of hyper-partisan political pundits, social media influencers and fans,” it added.
The spokesman of President Rodrigo Duterte said the chief executive has no intention of silencing his critics.
“The President only has one rule: to give protection and to serve the public. That guides him as leader of this country,” presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said.
“He is the one being harassed by critics,” he added.
A report from the Committee to Protect Journalists ranked the Philippines as the fifth most dangerous country for journalists, next to Somalia, Syria, Iraq, and South Sudan.
Despite this, Panelo said freedoms of expression and of speech in the country remain vibrant.
“No one criticizing the government is being jailed. Listen to the commentators from various government stations. Read the columnists and you will see our country, very free,” he said.