Dangerous Era for Journalists

Rey Tamayo, Jr.

According to the 1987 Philippine Constitution, in article 3 section 4 says “No law shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech, of expression, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances.”

It is clear that in our own constitution, the press freedom is one of the defender of every journalists and other media practitioner.

The International Federation of Journalist holds grave concerns for the safety of media practitioners in the country.

Recently, Marcos Mataro, a local senior announcer and main host of a program D’ X-man aired in UNTV 37 was killed by two unidentified suspect last April 28 this year. Mataro is a former minister of Iglesia ni Cristo of Felix Manalo transferred to Ang Dating Daan group.

According to National Union of Journalist of the Philippines, Mataro was the 57th local broadcaster killed under the Arroyo’s administration since 2001 after she grabbing allegedly the presidency from Estrada and second victim this year after Pilipino Newsmen columnist Benefredo Acabal based from Cavite.

Other press freedom incident that tremble in Philippine press history when veterans journalist and publisher of Daily Tribune Ninez Cacho-Olivares convicted in libel case and sentencing to a prison term as well as payment of 5 million peso for moral damages and P33,732 for the civil damages to Carpio Villaraza and Cruz ( now Villaraza, Cruz, Marcelo and Angcangco) law firm.

Aside for attaining security and protection from Philippine National Police and military, the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines, Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility, National Press Club, Philippine Press Institute and other media groups appealed to the lawmakers in the Senate and House of Representative to the speedy action regarding decriminalize the libel case in the country.

Why that the Philippines is the second most dangerous country in the world ( second to Iraq) for the journalists?

In the Philippines, statistics shown how media men unsafe in our epoch. 57 journalists killed in Arroyo’s administration, while 17 journalists killed in the time of former president Corazon Aquino, 15 journalists in Ramos administration and only 5 journalists murdered in Estrada’s period.

Even the democracy and sovereignty suddenly risky in our present administration.

Imagine, in the latest survey of International rights group known as Freedom House, the Washington-based Global Press Freedom, the Philippines is now under in partly free country and 97th in the list over 195 country in the world. The Philippines received a downward trend due to human rights violation like extra-judicial and political killings specifically targeting left-wing political activists.

The government know the perilous condition in our freedom, also the government know what’s remedy for this particular dilemma.

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