By Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos
MANILA – The Marcos administration is putting a premium on the safety and welfare of media workers in the country, the Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFoMS) said on Wednesday.
The assurance was made during the recent participation of lawyer Perry Solis, officer-in-charge of the PTFoMS, in the 33rd session of the Intergovernmental Council of the International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC).
“The Administration of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., through the Presidential Task Force on Media Security, has assured the international community of the government’s unwavering commitment to safeguard media freedom and to protect the rights and safety of journalists in the Philippines,” the PTFoMS said in a statement.
“Indeed, the safety of all journalists and media workers in the Philippines is a top priority of the Marcos Administration,” it added.
Hosted by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the two-day forum held from Nov. 24 to 25 aims to promote the advancement of mass media in developing countries.
The IPDC serves as the sole multilateral forum in the UN designed to mobilize the international community to support media projects for the growth of a free and pluralistic press.
The Philippines has been elected by the UNESCO General Conference as a member of the IPDC Intergovernmental Council for the term 2021-2025 through the collaborative efforts of the Department of Foreign Affairs, the UNESCO National Commission of the Philippines, the Permanent Delegation of the Philippines to UNESCO and the PTFoMS.
The PTFoMS said the Philippines’ direct engagement and involvement as a member of the 39-man IPDC Intergovernmental Council is a “great opportunity” to shape the council’s perspective about the current state of press freedom in the Philippines.
Solis’ participation in the recently-concluded forum will benefit the country, considering the “strong executive and legislative and judicial institutions” to safeguard human rights, the task force added.
“Membership in the council has presented an ideal and unique chance to showcase to the international community the free and vibrant media in the Philippines and the continuous, genuine efforts of the Marcos Administration to ensure the safety and security of media workers,” it said.
Some of the IPDC priority projects include support for media pluralism and independence; promotion of journalists’ safety; support for law reform fostering media independence; conduct of media assessments and research based on UNESCO’s established indicators; and capacity-building for journalists and media managers.
The Philippines, the PTFoMS noted, has been a beneficiary of some of these projects.
During the biennial session of IPDC Council, member-states adopted decisions for journalists’ safety, access to information rights and media development.
President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr., in his recent speech delivered before the Manila Overseas Press Club on Oct. 5, pledged to support and protect media rights under his administration. (PNA)