MANILA: Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said Tuesday he “did not give a shit” as his government moved to shut down a news website that has been critical in its reporting on his deadly drug war, with media watchdogs raising fears over eroding freedoms, reports AFP.
The country’s corporate regulator revoked the incorporation papers for Rappler on Monday accusing the online portal of ceding control to foreign investors in an industry exclusively reserved for Filipinos.
At a rambling speech to aviation industry officials Tuesday, Duterte singled out a Rappler reporter, saying: “I never had a hand, and I don’t give a shit if you continue or not continue with your network”.
The fiery 72-year-old said the Rappler sanction was not his own doing, then went on to accuse unnamed sectors of the media of “attacking us below the belt”.
“You’ve gone too far. You didn’t stop at (hurling) garbage and even used the spoils of the toilet bowl.Then I realised you are not saints,” he said.
“In this country the issue is not press freedom. The issue is abuse of the elite and those in power,” Duterte continued, accusing “oligarchs” of using media ownership as cover to steal from the government or cheat on taxes.