Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Davao journo shares lessons on covering Duterte: "Look beyond what he actually says"

After 30 years of covering news about President Rodrigo Duterte, editor-in-chief Stella Estremera of Sun.Star Davao shares that journalists need to look beyond what Duterte is actually saying in order to understand what he’s really trying to relay.

Estremera explains that Duterte is a man who goes “straight to the action” without a predicate. In understanding his intentions, a journalist would sometimes need to refer to Duterte’s track record and history.

And she also referred to Duterte’s history when she made the claim that insofar the President has not commanded media as to what to write nor threatened them for what they have as long as it is not an attack to his credibility. 

Davao journalists have held a reputation for being able to understand Duterte best, but also that they may be “too soft” in their coverage.

Estremera clarified this when she disclosed that Sun.Star Davao has focused on alleged extrajudicial killings under Duterte’s term as Davao City Mayor, but could not find any solid links to back up claims.

Even when Duterte was able to radically reduce crime in Davao, controversy also surrounded him in his hometown, but Estremera said that up until now there is no proof of Duterte being involved in summary executions.

The Davao editor also shared how Dabawenyos have grown very close and appreciative of Duterte. When he was still Mayor, people would tune in to his one-hour Sunday show to listen to his expletives and plans.

His relatable persona has drawn him to Dabawenyos and even to rebels, criminals, and the poor. Estremera pointed out that Duterte was both ruthless and giving.

The most significant changes in Davao were effected because of Duterte’s persona. Crime was drastically reduced, curfews and smoking bans were followed, and an efficient central 911 system is in place.

While it did not eliminate brandishing to his reputation, Duterte’s hometown remained faithful and trusting of their leader which Estremera believed was because he made the city thrive in peace and order.

Source: Cebu Journalism and Journalists

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