Journalists on meeting UN envoy Irene Khan: ‘No democracy when journalists are jailed, harassed, killed’
January 24, 2024

United Nations Special Rapporteur (UNSR) on freedom of expression and opinion Irene Khan’s first day in the Philippines yesterday, January 23, Tuesday, ended with separate meetings with various media groups and another with the Presidential Task Force on Media Security.

The latter is considered by much of the media community as one of the government’s red-tagging mechanisms, asserted Altermidya chairperson Raymund Villanueva. “We believe that last night’s dialogues have shown who are press freedom’s champions and who are its real enemies.”

“With her background as a veteran human rights defender, Ms Khan would surely see that when journalists are in jail with trumped up charges, when daughters and brothers still cry out for justice years after their kin have been gunned down, when thousands of media workers lose jobs because of vengeful government officials, when colonial era laws such as libel is utilized to harass truth tellers, and when critical and independent journalism is labelled as anti-government activities, claims of a ‘vibrant democracy’ are only far from the truth,” Villanueva explained.

Altermidya is among several media groups that submitted and presented evidence to Ms Khan about attacks on press freedom perpetuated by state officials. Media groups described to the UNSR the inordinate amount of time and resources that journalists spend in courts fending off criminal charges, website blocking orders, illegal confiscation of newspapers and other dangerous attacks.

During the dialogue, the media groups also highlighted the plight of community journalist Frenchie Mae Cumpio (the youngest journalist in jail in the world today), and expressed hope that Ms Khan’s visit to the Philippines would be instrumental to regaining Cumpio’s freedom.

“We believe that truth is all that she is here for. Ms Khan’s mandate is created for the respect of free expression and opinion, to serve the higher aspiration of the people’s right to information,” said Villanueva. “Any power that systematically derides mass media’s freedom and duty to exercise these freedoms does not know the meaning of a vibrant democracy.”

“As long as there are journalists in jail or are killed, media entities denied their right to exist, media workers who suddenly become jobless, government officials and agencies that malign critical journalism, increasing derision of the independent press by the State, there simply is no democracy.”

“We trust that last night’s discussions will help guide Ms Khan in reporting the real state of free expression and opinion in the Philippines,” Villanueva ended.#


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Read more

BAYAN to BBM: Do not let PH be another Ukraine

BAYAN to BBM: Do not let PH be another Ukraine

'US puppet Zelensky led his country to war against Russia’ Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) urged President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to protect the Philippines from becoming another Ukraine, a casualty in another proxy war by the United States of America (USA) against...

ACT announces teaching supplies allowance increase

ACT announces teaching supplies allowance increase

Public school teachers will soon receive higher teaching supplies allowances from the current P5,000 to double the amount, the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) announced. ACT said it lauds the passage of the the “Kabalikat sa Pagtuturo Act” doubling the benefit to...

Manggagawa ka nga

Manggagawa ka nga

ni DOMINIC NOLASCO Mula sa umagang hindi pa sumisinag ang araw,sa dilim ng bukang liwayway ikaw ang tanglaw,Dala-dala'y Martilyo, Pagkaing baon, at ang iyong bimpo,Kaunting sikap na lang at matatamo ang kalayaang inaasam mo. Sa kamay ng mga mapanupil na korporasyon,Sa...

Want to stay updated?

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This