26 May 2010

Government should pass FOI law, end impunity, say IFEX members


Under President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo's nine-year rule, 74 journalists were killed, says CMFR
Under President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo's nine-year rule, 74 journalists were killed, says CMFR
CMFR

This is available in:

English Français Español
Before the Philippine leadership steps down in just a few weeks, the Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA), along with 30 other IFEX members, is demanding that it make one last "crucial" move: to finally put the Freedom of Information Act into law. Meanwhile, on the sixth anniversary of the Maguindanao massacre, Manila's Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR) is appealing to the President-Elect to tackle the longstanding issue of impunity.

For years, SEAPA and other civil society organisations have pressed for a freedom of information law, which would give Filipinos access to public records and documents. In the run up to the recent elections, the Congress came close to passing the bill - the House of Representatives needed to ratify it one last time before sending it to the President. But they went into recess to prepare for the elections.

"We view the adoption of legislation giving effect to the right to information as fundamental to the respect of all human rights, as well as to democracy," says a letter from the IFEX members to outgoing President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, the Senate and the House. The members are pressing for the bill to be taken up again on 31 May, when Congress resumes session.

Should the bill be passed, it would "not only benefit Filipinos but will also provide direction and momentum to the whole Southeast Asia region," says SEAPA, where only Thailand and Indonesia have right to information laws.

The demand comes at a time that the Philippines is commemorating the six-month anniversary of Maguindanao, when 58 people were killed, including 32 journalists and media workers, in a brutal election-related massacre.

Despite the widespread attention given to the massacre, the principal suspects have not yet been convicted and there are still some suspects at large.

CMFR is asking the new administration, under President-Elect Benigno Aquino, to commit itself to "take the necessary steps to shift government policy from the dire neglect and indifference that has allowed so many journalist killings to go unpunished."

Arroyo consistently failed to adequately address the killing of journalists and media workers, as the number of victims - 74 - spiked dramatically during her nine-year watch, says CMFR.

"A presidential statement will be heard by advocates of press freedom and media defence activists around the world as a signal that under a new leadership, the culture of impunity in the Philippines may come to an end," says CMFR.

Join CMFR's petition



Joint action

Philippines

Thirty-one IFEX members call on Philippine leadership to champion Freedom of Information Act

IFEX members have joined SEAPA in urging the president to sign the FOI Act into law before the current administration leaves office.

Related stories on ifex.org

Support call for state policy to end impunity 26 May 2010
Philippines

IFEX members working in this country 1

 
More from Philippines
  • Philippines: Relentless attacks and threats against the media

    Attacks and threats against the Philippine media continue to rise under the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte

  • Freedom on the Net 2017: Philippines

    Websites run by the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism and the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines were disabled by cyberattacks

  • Freedom of the Press 2017: Philippines

    Two people were convicted of murdering journalists in 2016. Nevertheless, the Philippines remains one of the most dangerous places in the world to practice journalism, and violent attacks against media workers usually go unpunished.

 
More from Asia & Pacific
  • TRUTH VS MISINFORMATION: THE COLLECTIVE PUSH BACK

    SOUTH ASIA PRESS FREEDOM REPORT 2018-2019

  • The Campaign for Justice: Press Freedom in South Asia 2013-14

    Journalism in South Asia is far from an easy profession, as the 12th annual review of journalism in the region "The Campaign for Justice: Press Freedom in South Asia 2013-14" portrays. But this year's report also tells the story of the courage of South Asia's journalists to defend press freedom and to ensure citizens' right to information and freedom of expression in the face of increasing challenges to the profession and personal safety.

  • THE STORIES WOMEN JOURNALISTS TELL: Women in Media in South Asia

    The report is the first created by the South Asia Media Solidarity Network (SAMSN) looking specifically at the experience of women journalists in the South Asia sub-region


At this point, would publish cover: "Home page"
 
IFEX is a global network of committed organisations working to defend and promote free expression.
Permission is granted for material on this website to be reproduced or republished in whole or in part provided the source member and/or IFEX is cited with a link to the original item.