Action plan launched for safety of Filipino journalists
MANILA, Philippines – On the eve of the 10th anniversary of the Maguindanao massacre which is considered the world’s deadliest attack against journalists in a single-event, a broad coalition of media stakeholders has launched a plan of action to protect members of the media in the country.
The Philippine Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists (PPASJ) which was launched Friday will address five flagship areas needed to improve the safety of journalists and the media environment in the Philippines.
These five flagship areas to be addressed are the following: integrity and professionalism; conducive working conditions; safety and protection mechanisms; criminal justice system and public information, journalism education and research.
Attacks on journalists
After the Maguindanao massacre, calls for justice and to end impunity against the Fourth Estate were made.
Still, the climate of impunity continues with at least 85 attacks and threats to local journalists from July 2016 to October 2018 alone.
According to the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR), no less than 165 journalists have been killed in the Philippines since 1986 with 13 deaths from July 2016 to October 2018 alone.
Of the 165 deaths, Dean Luis Teodoro, CMFR deputy director, said only 14 cases have been resolved with the killers being convicted “without their masterminds even being tried.”
The Committee to Protect Journalists 2019 Global Impunity Index ranks the Philippines 5th among the countries where journalists are killed and the killers go free.
“Silencing journalists by murdering them is the worst form of censorship,” Teodoro said.
He said the public support and understanding of the media’s work would be most helpful in stopping media harassment and attacks.
PPASJ came to being through consultation with the media, media organizations both local and international, and the academe and key government offices.
Department of Justice Assistant Secretary Neal Vincent Bainto said the PPASJ “is a much-needed addition to the growing efforts of all stakeholders to curb the threats to journalists.
“We support prevention, protection, prosecution, and partnership in order to strengthen and maintain the sustainability of the program,” he said in a speech.
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