MANILA, Philippines - The National Press Club said that 2008 has been a tragic year for press freedom in the Philippines with seven Filipino journalists killed and many others receiving death threats, according to the Manila Times.
“The Philippine media continued to be under siege this year. We note with sadness that despite the government’s repeated declaration to address the cases of media killings, its [government’s] best is not enough,” press club President Benny Antiporda said in a statement.
He said the press club is demanding for a resolution of all cases of media killings and the prosecution and incarceration of the perpetrators and masterminds of the attacks on media.
“We call on the government, especially the Philippine National Police and the Department of Justice, to do more than make public statements and reports. We appreciate their efforts to do their job, but we believe they can do more,” Antiporda said.
Compared to the previous year, with five journalists reported killed, the number of attacks against media practitioners this year has increased, making the Philippines the fifth most dangerous country for journalists, according to the Press Emblem Campaign, an international movement for press freedom and protection for journalists.
The press club, nonetheless, lauded the initiatives of individuals and various media organizations—Alyansa ng Filipinong Mamamahayag, the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines, Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster sa Pilipinas, Philippine Press Institute, Freedom Fund for Filipino Journalists and Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility—for their relentless fight to defend press freedom in the country.
Antiporda also called on Congress to immediately decriminalize libel and stop all proposed measures that would undermine the constitutionally mandated freedom of expression and the people’s right to know.