POLICE authorities will set a series of dialogues with local media and a police-media relations seminar to promote public information and media relations consciousness among policemen at all levels of command.
The media relations workshop set by the Police Regional Office (PRO) 6 will be conducted in the month of August and expected to come up with a doable course of action to promote the protection of journalists covering Western Visayas against occupational hazards that usually transform into harassment, threats and other grave measures to silence them.
PRO-6 Director Samuel D Pagdilao Jr. said the Philippine National Police (PNP) is committed to the order of President Benigno Aquino to stop the killings of journalists in the country.
The objective of dialogues is to establish a measure of trust for the PNP and the media for the latter to share information to the police about imminent or clear and present danger to their lives so that the PNP can carry out measures to preempt or prevent these threats.
Pagdilao said that the PRO-6 will seek the opinion and suggestions of the local press in adopting best practices to protect them without having to go beyond the boundaries of the law and without necessarily curtailing their freedom of movement and sacrificing objectivity and transparency in gathering news.
Initial dialogue with some members of the media has confirmed that some still receive threats from powerful personalities that they have come across in the exercise of their duties as watchdogs of government abuses as well as civilian excesses.
One doable measure that the media has suggested to Pagdilao is for the PNP to teach them to detect indications that they are being stalked and how to elude them.
Another proposal is to open a line of communication that will allow threatened journalists to report immediate risks and immediately call for police assistance.
Pagdilao hoped that by coming up with a doable target hardening measures with the consent of media, the Philippines could clean its marred image as second only to Iraq as the most dangerous country for journalists in the world. (Lydia C. Pendon)