A YouTube channel supportive of President Rodrigo Duterte has targeted a Philstar.com reporter over media coverage of the president’s comment that there are 167 million drug users in the Philippines.
“Pinoy Streamline” took exception to media coverage of Duterte’s comment on his weekly late night address. The Palace has since attributed the mistake, also reported elsewhere, to a typographical error.
While the video talks about media in general, it singles out James Relativo, who writes for Pilipino Star Ngayon and is a member of NUJP’s Philstar.com chapter, and posts his photo as well as personal details like his educational background.
Although the “167 million” comment was clearly made in error — a point that Relativo acknowledged in the article — the article also cites instances that the president has given estimates not supported by Dangerous Drugs Board data.
In 2017, he said that there were 4 million drug addicts in the Philippines. That estimate grew to 8 million in 2019. Relativo’s story mentioned both estimates and it is in that context that the “167 million” comment is relevant.
NUJP-Philstar.com recognizes that working in news carries the risk of being criticized. This kind of targeting is a matter of concern, however, since other instances have led to outright harassment of colleagues and media workers in the past.
The chapter will be vigilant against similar threats against its members and to colleagues. We will also not allow this incident to keep us from reporting on the government, its policies, and their effects on the daily lives of our readers and of the Filipino people.