PH OUT OF TOP 5 DEADLIEST COUNTRIES FOR MEDIA IN 2018
MANILA – The Philippines is out of the top five most dangerous countries for journalists in 2018, according to the annual report of media freedom organization, Reporters Without Borders (RSF).
Based on the RSF annual worldwide round-up figures released on Wednesday, the list of top five deadliest countries for media this year is now occupied by Afghanistan, Syria, Mexico, India and the United States.
Afghanistan was the deadliest country with 15 killed, followed by Syria and Mexico with 11 and 9, respectively, while India had six journalists killed in 2018.
The bloody shooting of the Capital Gazette newspaper’s five employees in June has placed the US for the first time to the top five with a total of six killed journalists.
The RSF’s report showed that a total of 80 journalists were killed this year, 348 are presently in prison and 60 are being held hostage. It was higher compared to 65 killed in 2017.
The Philippines, which was among the top five most dangerous countries for media last year, has three journalists killed this year based on RSF’s report.
The RSF list include Joey Llana of DwZR Radio from Albay killed on July 20; Dennis Denora of Trends and Times from Panabo City (June 7); and, Edmund Sestoso of DyGB 91.7 from Dumaguete City (May 1).
Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar has attributed the country’s delisting to President Rodrigo Duterte's show of concern to the country’s Fourth Estate.
Duterte has dedicated his first Administrative Order for the creation of the Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFoMS) on October 11, 2016.
Andanar said the PTFoMS creation “has resulted in the relentless pursuit of justice for journalists who were killed in the exercise of their duty, and the security of those media men and women who have been harassed and threatened”.
“We will continue to work hard for the safety of our journalists in the name of Press Freedom. There is no stopping the present administration from defending the rights of journalists’ who are vulnerable to threats, often in direct reprisal for their reporting,” Andanar said in a statement.
“The PTFoMS shall relentlessly give attention to the protection of journalists and other media workers to end the culture of impunity that has long hounded the ranks of the country’s Fourth Estate,” he added.
Andanar and Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra are co-chairman and chairman of the PTFoMS, respectively, while Undersecretary Joel Sy Egco, a former president of the country’s largest media group, the National Press Club, is the task force’s executive director.
In a statement, the PTFoMS credited the remarkable achievement to the hard work and commitment of the task force to provide a safe working environment for journalists throughout the country.
“This achievement is a testament to the hardwork and commitment of the PTFoMS to fulfill its mandate of protecting the life, liberty, and security of media workers,” the statement read.
The task force vowed to be ‘relentless’ in the pursuit of justice for media workers, who have been victims of violence in the exercise of their calling.
“We will continue to work hard for them and exhaust all efforts to uphold Press Freedom,” it added.
The delisting of the Philippines from RSF’s annual report also serves as another significant achievement of the Duterte administration.
Last October, the Philippines was named by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) as one of the countries with an 'improved status' in its 2018 Global Impunity Index. (PNA)
Photo by Jes Aznar/Getty Images/Time