CLARK FREEPORT – In order to create an enabling environment for press freedom and a sustainable safety and protection mechanism for Filipino journalists, the second regional consultation on crafting of the Philippine Plan of Action for the Safety of Journalists was held at the Xenia Hotel here Wednesday.
The event was part a series of consultations earlier held in Manila and the first regional consultation held in Iloilo last March 13 as well as in Cotabato City next month which will help provide concrete recommendations on what to integrate into the plan of action.
Spearheading the crafting of the plan is the Journalist Safety Advisory Group composed of the Center for Community Journalism and Development, Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMF), National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP), and the Philippine Press Institute.
In his welcome remarks, Ramon R. Tuazon, president of the Asian Institute of Journalism and Communication (AIJC), explained that “the overall thrust of the project is to safeguard and strengthen Philippine media – through advocacy and capacity building initiatives that enhance the enabling environment for the exercise of press freedom, and through safety and protection mechanisms that help journalists and media workers practice their profession.”
Professor Luis V. Teodoro, CMFR trustee, gave an assessment of journalists’ safety in the Philippines by providing indicators such as the roles and response of state institutions, political actors, media intermediaries, civil society organizations, the academe as well as the UN and other international organizations in addressing safety and the issue of impunity.
Teodoro also tackled the attacks and threats on women journalists like threatening sexual assault and rape including the targeting of journalists by trolls in social media.
NUJP – Pampanga chapter chair Justine Emmanuel Y. Dizon discussed the media threats and issues in the region while NUJP national chair Nonoy Espina spoke on the state of media safety in the Philippines.
Senior Supt. Oscar P. Jacildo, regional community affairs and development division chief of the PNP-Region 3, talked about the role of the PNP in safeguarding press freedom.
The project is implemented by the AIJC and the International Media Support with funding from the European Union and the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
PPI executive director Ariel C. Sebellino acted as the moderator of the event.