PH gov't vows to promote press freedom, hails journalists as frontliners

ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 03 2020 02:41 PM | Updated as of May 03 2020 09:33 PM

PH slips to 136th in World Press Freedom Index

MANILA - The Philippine government on Sunday said it will continue to promote the rights and liberty of media as it hailed journalists in the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic on World Press Freedom Day.

A free press has allowed for the continued delivery of news to all Filipinos during the virus crisis, according to Palace communications Secretary Martin Andanar.

"It has also helped voice out the public's pulse and serve as an avenue for the government to increase public awareness of its policies and report its activities with complete transparency," he said in a statement.

"Without an open and free press, there will be an intellectual vacuum on public information and government programs and services, and there will be no dialogue on societal issues, public grievances, and government policies."

The Duterte administration joins all the journalists and media workers in celebration of World Press Freedom Day as it continues to "endeavor towards the continued promotion of press rights and freedom," Andanar said.

"Let us work together as well, to eradicate biased information, misinformation, disinformation and fake news that continue to damage not only our society, but the trust and the relationship between the government and the people, a relationship that must be maintained in order for our society to function as a whole," he said.

"With these in mind, we pray for the safety of everyone, especially the journalists and media workers currently reporting from the frontlines despite the pandemic. We salute your heroism, bravery, and your service."

In a separate statement, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque lauded the media.

"In this time of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, this role has become more relevant. Filipino households need to get timely, accurate and transparent reporting of this global health emergency and the action or intervention the government has made to address this situation thereby promoting public awareness and engagement and accountability in public service," he said.

"As media workers continue reporting in the frontlines, we pray for everyone’s safety as we laud all those in front of and behind the scenes in bringing truthful information to the homes of every Filipino family," Roque added.

The Philippines slipped 2 notches to 136th in the 2020 World Press Freedom Index.

According to Reporters Without Borders, the Philippines is among countries where "state troll armies...use the weapon of disinformation on social media."