LAWMAKER Isagani Zarate urged media organizations on Saturday, November 18, to be active in lobbying law that pushes forward the welfare and protection of the journalists who are much susceptible to risk considering the nature of their job.

“We need to do really, especially among media or journalist organization be active in lobbying also in congress because a lot of members of the congress see and look at the journalist and media in an adversarial way. Bills and resolution pertaining to media sometimes are relegated,” Zarate said during the book launching of Defending Journalism at Pinnacle Hotel, Davao City.

He said there has been a move in the Congress to help address the concerns of journalists such as decriminalizing libel which is imposition of criminal sanctions against false report or information committed by journalists. This legal remedy was used by influential individuals to intimate journalists in exposing their unlawful activities.

“In Congress, we are trying to address issues confronting our journalists. There are several proposed legislations which were already mentioned to decriminalize for example libel and to address these issues of threats to journalist,” Zarate said.

He also said they have a pending bill to give insurance to working journalists since some of them do not have one in case of emergencies while performing their jobs.

Zarate added that they are also pushing the legislation of Freedom of Information Law in Congress since the current measure is only limited under the executive branch and not in the legislative and judiciary. With this, it will allow journalists to have access on the documents of those offices.

“Our main advocacy now in Congress is not only the decriminalizing (of libel for the) benefit of journalists (but also) the freedom of information will finally become a law," Zarate said.

“These are the things that we are trying to address in Congress but then again precautionary statement. Still now Congress is very conservative if not (a) reactionary institution,” he added.

Thus, he said that the media organization should be proactive in fighting for their rights to have a holistic environment that is free from threat.