‘Climate change’ for Philippine Media

December 20, 2018

BELOW is the statement released by the National Press Club (NPC) over the latest ‘global media situationer’ released by the Paris-based ‘Reporters Without Border’ (RSF).

The report is significant considering that it validates what the local media community has been experiencing since the formation of the ‘Presidential Task Force on Media Security’ (PTFoMS), which, incidentally, is an “initiative” of the NPC at the start of the Duterte administration.

As of this year, the Philippines has been removed in the ‘Top 5’ of countries considered as the ‘most dangerous countries’ for journalists.

The “bottom line” is, the “climate” for the practice of the profession has been improving, despite the effort of some quarters to continue “demonising” the state of the Philippine media.

For those in the know, the improvement is not a welcome development to these same quarters as this would also greatly affect their respective “bottom line” as the possible dilution in foreign fund they are getting for projects they claim would “help” improve the working condition of the working press, now looms in the horizon.

Translation? Ginawa nang “kabuhayan” ng ilang grupo sa media ang tulong-pinansiyal ng mga dayuhan para “pondohan” (kuno) ang mga proyekto upang “proteksyunan” ang media.

At ngayong mayroon nang ‘climate change’ pabor sa mas “ligtas” na kapaligiran para sa mga mamamahayag, ‘bad news’ ito para sa kanila.

Read on, dear readers...

“The National Press Club of the Philippines (NPC), the country’s oldest and largest national organization of active members of the press, has welcomed the latest report by the global media watchdog, ‘Reporters Without Border’ (RSF) where not a word was included on the state of the Philippine media.

“Titled, ‘Worldwide Round-up of Jounalists Killed, Held Hostage or Missing in 2018,’ the 24-page report, covering the period January 1 to December 1, 2018, can already be viewed and downloaded in the RSF’s website (rsf.org).

“According to the Paris-based organization, the “most dangerous countries” today for journalists, in terms of those killed are, Afghanistan (15), Syria (11), Mexico (9), Yemen (8), India and, for the first time, the United States, which both registered six deaths.

“Overall, the RSF, which has been compiling its data since 1995, said a total of 80 journalists and ‘media workers’ were killed this year.

“Of these, 63 were professional journalists, which is 15 percent higher compared to the 55 professional journalists killed last year.

“Worldwide, the RSF said 348 journalists and other media practitioners are under detention, with China on top of the list with 60 journalist under detention, followed by Egypt and Turkey with 38 and 33 journalists and media workers behind bars, respectively.

“There are also 60 journalists and media workers being held hostage by armed groups in the war-torn Middle East.

“Good or bad, we would have welcomed the ‘assessment’ made by other media organizations on the state of the Philippine media, especially from a respectable organization like the RSF,” NPC president Rolly Gonzalo said, noting the “concerted effort” by some quarters in the country to continuously “paint a horrifying picture of the state of the Philippine media in the eyes of the world.”

“Given that the 2018 RSF report is very much focused and concise in its assessment, we can only conclude that the RSF, by not commenting on the Philippines, has also been made aware of the tremendous effort being exerted by the Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFoMS) to protect local journalists.

“RSF’s silence can only mean that it appreciates the measures being done by the task force and its media partners like the NPC to uphold and promote press freedom in the country,” Gonzalo said.

“He noted that since the infamous ‘2009 Ampatuan Massacre’ where 32 of the 58 victims were members of the press, the Philippines has continuously been tagged by the RSF and even by human rights groups as among the ‘most dangerous countries’ in the world for journalists.

“But with this latest report by the RSF, it can be said that the united effort by Philippine media groups and the PTFoMS to protect all media workers in the country is starting to bear fruit.

“This has happened despite efforts by some local quarters to still paint a frightening picture of our media environment before the eyes of the world,” the NPC president added.