Attacks on journalists with impunity must not become normal – Poe
MANILA, Philippines – Attacks on journalists with impunity “must not thrive and be a part of the normal,” Senator Grace Poe said Thursday.
Poe lauded the media for exercising their “hard-won right to free speech in their day-to-day work,” which she said, they “jealously guard and vigorously defend.”
But she noted that in the pursuit of defending a free press in the country, many journalists “have fallen by the wayside.”
“Without a doubt, the harassment and killing of journalists have compromised our collective pursuit of truth,” Poe said at a Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas conference in Tagaytay.
The senator made an impassioned call to clamp down impunity for journalist attacks and harassment, as she said “every incident of murder, threat or harassment against the media should not be relegated to the already jarring statistics.”
“Impunity stays as a serious challenge, it must not thrive and be part of the normal,” she added.
Poe said this in light of the brazen assassination of veteran radio broadcaster Percival “Percy Lapid” Mabasa, who was ambushed and killed in Las Piñas City on October 3.
And as twists and turns continue to unravel in the Mabasa slay case, Poe said the string of suspects implicated in the crime must be pursued by authorities.
“Our authorities must not stop until they fully untangle the plot and uncover the brains behind this baleful act,” she further noted, citing the recent directive of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to continue with the investigation.
READ: Bongbong Marcos says Percy Lapid slay case probe to continue
Poe then called on lawmakers, journalists and other stakeholders to adapt to the digitalization of the media landscape.
“Where before it was a small corps of journalists that broke the news, today, anyone with a Facebook account or a Youtube channel has a bullhorn at his or her disposal,” she explained.
With this, she urged them to use online platforms in a bid to responsibly inform and shape opinions, while remaining rooted to delivering the truth and demanding accountability.
The Philippines, for the third straight year, ranked seventh in the world’s worst countries in prosecuting killers of journalists, according to global media watchdog Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).
The CPJ cited the murder of Lapid and radio host Renato Blanco, who were both killed during the first 100 days of the Marcos administration.
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