Press freedom under threat – Manila Bulletin
“Under my leadership, we will support and protect the rights of the media as they effectively carry out their duty.”
President Marcos underscored this following the brutal assassination of hard-hitting radio commentator Percival Mabasa, better known as Percy Lapid.
This is a reassuring statement at a time when press freedom in the country is once again under threat.
Mabasa’s death highlights the vagaries of the profession and its consequences for press freedom.
As the governments of Canada and the Netherlands said in a joint statement: “Killings of journalists strike at the very heart of media freedom and can create a chilling effect that limits the ability of journalists to report freely. and safely.
Now that the president has taken a stand, government officials should set in motion the five pillars of the criminal justice system – law enforcement, prosecution, justice, penology and community – to bring justice to Mabasa’s family.
The Five Pillars must work collectively and diligently to bring to justice those behind this despicable and cowardly act. This will signal to everyone, including suspects and those who intend to violate the freedom of the press guaranteed by the Constitution, that President Marcos and the government are serious and are ready to uphold this right enshrined in the Constitution. .
And government officials should act quickly.
Marcos watches carefully. And to underscore his determination to protect the media, Marcos asked palace officials to closely monitor the progress of the ambush investigation.
Likewise, the international community is watching. In a rare show of unity on a domestic issue, Canada, the Netherlands, the United States, the United Kingdom, Japan, the European Union, France, Germany and Denmark have expressed their solidarity in calling for a speedy resolution of the attack on Mabasa. , while reaffirming their commitment to freedom of the press and the protection of journalists.
“Freedom of expression is essential to building the future the Filipino people want and deserve,” the US Embassy in Manila said in a tweet, responding to the joint statement by Canada and the Netherlands. .
The British Embassy in Manila, also reacting to the joint statement, urged the Philippine government to ensure that the perpetrators of the murder are brought to justice and to create a safe environment for journalists.
Solving the Mabasa case as soon as possible will help dispel fears that the incident is a harbinger of things to come. It will also mean that this government is serious about defending freedom of expression and protecting media professionals, who are seen by President Marcos as partners in the continued development of the country.
This is an opportunity for the government to show that the country’s criminal justice system works.
Like any other peace and freedom loving Filipino, we are looking forward to this.
And we express the hope and remain convinced that the government will not disappoint the nation.
SUBSCRIBE TO THE DAILY NEWSLETTER
CLICK HERE TO JOIN