Senate President Vicente Sotto III on Wednesday said the government should not meddle in private business and editorial content.
“Ang gobyerno hindi dapat nakikialam sa laman ng editorial. Opinion nila ‘yan eh. They could be wrong but that’s their opinion,” Sotto said during a virtual press forum on Kapihan sa Manila Bay on Wednesday.
“As a matter of fact, I have this mentality na hindi lang sa news organization hindi dapat nakikialam ang gobyerno. Government should be out of business. Government should not meddle with business,” he added.
“Pag may mga pagkakamali o may violations, okay tirahin mo pero that’s different from pakikialam o pagme-meddle.”
Sotto said that he thinks alleged media “bias” does not provide enough grounds to withhold the grant of legislative franchises “unless there is a grave violation.”
Sotto, however, invoked inter-parliamentary courtesy when asked if the House of Representatives is mishandling the ABS-CBN franchise hearing.
Earlier this week, some congressmen accused media network ABS-CBN of biased reporting as it continues the deliberations on granting another 25-year franchise to the network.
The media company, on the other hand, said the network always strives to correct its mistakes and keep biases in check.
ABS-CBN president and CEO Carlo Katigbak also said that public officials will be given a chance to air their side of the story on any issue involving them in the network’s news platforms.
Sotto said his counterparts in the Lower House should just face the negative stories that offended them, sharing that he also had the same experience in the past—not particularly with ABS-CBN.
“Harapin nila. Kung hindi naman totoo ang sinasabi eh lalabas at lalabas naman ang katotohanan. The truth is very difficult to hide,” he said./Stacy Ang