Tuesday, October 26, 2021

NUJP pushes for safety mechanism for journalists

CONSIDERING the risk that journalists face, the National Union of Journalists in the Philippines (NUJP) is pushing for the full implementation of United Nation (UN) Plan of Action for the Safety of Journalists, a safety mechanism to address threats and advancement of press freedom.

NUJP Davao vice president Zea Capistrano quoted NUJP statistics where a total of 178 journalists have been killed in the Philippines since 1986 under five administrations.

She, however, noted that it has not yet categorized whether it is work-related or personal conflict.

"What we should do is how we should document the threats against us kay sa kana palang dili ta kabalo unsa atong himoon hadlok-hadlokon lang ta pag naa natay mabangga nga interest (because if we do not know how to counter, they will just intimidate us if we step their interest)," she said.

She added that when a journalist would receive a threat by any form, they could call the NUJP's attention or Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR) to address these threats so they could provide the necessary steps to be undertaken.

The UN Plan of Action aims "to create a free and safe environment for journalist and media workers, both in conflict and non-conflict situations, with a view of strengthening peace, democracy and development worldwide."

It helps in the establishment of a coordinated inter-agency mechanism to handle issues on safety of journalists as well as assisting countries to develop legislation and mechanisms favorable to freedom of expression and information and supporting the efforts to implement existing international rules and principles.

Some journalists suffered from attacks and interference, violent assaults from terrorists, other armed groups and powerful individuals including government officials, security forces and criminal gangs in the performance of their duties.

Meanwhile, Kristianne Fusilero, Treasurer of NUJP Davao, said that on Saturday, they will launch a book entitled "Defending Journalism" at Pinnacle Hotel authored by 12 persons from the seven countries including Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nepal, Philippines, Indonesia, Iraq and Colombia.

"This publication aims to document and share international best practices and support application of them by relevant actors, including in-country policy makers and relevant media organizations ensuring more effective impact of safety and protection and anti-impunity efforts," she said.

The research was carried out over a period of six months with data collection consultations and a wide range of in-country stakeholders and in-depth interviews with those directly affected and involved in addressing issues related to safety and protection.
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