Aquino government should ensure secure environment for journalists

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) welcomes the call of President Benigno Aquino III for media to police its own ranks, help clarify issues, raise the level of public discourse and apply fairness and truthfulness in reporting.

The NUJP and the overwhelming majority of media organizations and journalists in the country have certainly pursued these values in our daily work and in our campaigns. We will continue to do so.

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As watchdog of government, the media will continue to scrutinize the present administration and will be uncompromising in reporting the truth to the public.

While we heed the President’s call, his government must also ensure a more secure environment for journalists so they do not lose their jobs if not their lives in the performance of their work.

If the Aquino administration will be true to its promises of reforms, it should ensure unhampered access of information to the public so that journalists can do their jobs better.

We are disappointed that in his State of the Nation Address, the President made no mention of the Freedom of Information Bill, a long delayed legislation to ensure transparency of government transactions, which was shamefully shelved by the last Congress.

We also did not hear in the SONA any categorical statement from the President ensuring justice for victims of the Ampatuan Massacre and decisively putting an end to the continued killings of journalists.

The President was also silent on massive contractualization in the media industry, low wages of employees and worsening retrenchment and termination even of regular employees.

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