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Palace renews commitment to protect media practitioners, ensures press freedom

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The Aquino government vowed to protect journalists in the country as the world celebrates the World Press Freedom Day Thursday, May 3, a Malacanang official said.

“This is one of the freest in Asia and we have not curtailed and we do not intend to curtail press freedom, and in fact you are… the press is a necessary part of nation building, so it is something that we would encourage,” Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda said during the regular press conference in Malacanang on Thursday.

“The media is partner of government in nation building,” he added, commenting on the state of the Philippine media today.
The President’s spokesman also assured of the government’s commitment to ensure the safety of the members of the press while exercising their profession.

“With respect to safety, I can assure you that we will not tolerate extralegal killings, especially of journalists. Every time we hear an attempt on media personnel, we immediately inform the PNP [Philippine National Police] and the last one is the Bombo Radio driver. So, that is something that we are very strong. We will not tolerate extralegal killing of journalists,” he said.

Early this week, Malacanang condemned the killing of a broadcast journalist in Koronadal City, saying the PNP is already investigating the latest attack on a member of the press.

Rommel Palma, 31, a reporter for radio station dxMC Bombo Radyo-Koronadal, died from four gunshot wounds at the back and the neck after he was attacked by motorcycle-riding gunmen.

Every May 3, the world celebrates the World Press Freedom Day to revitalize the fundamental principles of press freedom, to evaluate press freedom around the world, to defend the media from attacks as well as to pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives doing their jobs.
May 3 was proclaimed World Press Freedom Day by the UN General Assembly in 1993 following a recommendation adopted at the 26th session of UNESCO's General Conference in 1991.

It serves as an occasion to inform citizens of violations of press freedom - a reminder that in dozens of countries around the world, publications are censored, fined, suspended and closed down, while journalists, editors and publishers are harassed, attacked, detained and even murdered.
May 3 is a date to encourage and develop initiatives in favor of press freedom, and to assess the state of press freedom worldwide.

The celebration also serves as a reminder to governments of the need to respect their commitment to press freedom. It is also a day of reflection among media professionals on issues of press freedom and professional ethics. (PNA)




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