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PH improves ranking in global impunity index

PTFoMS sees improvement in ranking moving forward

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THE Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFoMS) expressed mild satisfaction as the country improved one notch higher in the Global Impunity Index for 2023 released by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) last October 31, 2023.

“While the ranking is an improvement over the past two years under the Duterte administration, we remain not fully satisfied as it only tells us that there remains much work to be done when it comes to protecting our journalists and our right to free expression,” said PTFoMS executive director, Usec. Paul M. Gutierrez.

From being stuck at seventh place in 2021 and 2022, the last two years of the Duterte administration, CPJ reported the country has slipped down to eighth place, the first year of the Marcos administration, behind Mexico and followed by Myanmar. The ranking of the top 12 countries in the CPJ list are as follows:

Syria, Somalia, Haiti, South Sudan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Mexico, Philippines, Myanmar, Brazil, Pakistan, and India.

When the PTFoMS was organized under Administrative Order No. 1 in 2016, the country ranked fourth in the CPJ index.

“We have been very cooperative and transparent with the CPJ and other credible international groups such as the United Nations (UN) looking into the state of the Philippine media, supplying them with all the relevant data and updating them on the courses of action we have done to address impunity.

“We shall continue to adopt this policy of transparency and close collaboration with any group, and we hope to see a more significant positive change in our standing moving forward.”

“We shall also be fully guided by the instruction of President Marcos for the PTFoMS during its anniversary last October 11, to mitigate and eventually eradicate all the risks that hound the members of the press and their families,” Gutierrez added.

“We shall continue to adopt this policy of transparency and close collaboration with any group, and we hope to see a more significant positive change in our standing moving forward. We shall also be fully guided by the instruction of President Marcos for the PTFoMS during its anniversary last October 11, to mitigate and eventually eradicate all the risks that hound the members of the press and their families,” Gutierrez added.

 

Gutierrez also urged the CPJ to expand its focus in addressing cases of impunity in other conflict areas such as the Middle East, specifically in the ongoing Israel-Hamas war in the Gaza Strip and where, according to the CPJ, at least 31 journalists have already been killed since the start of the fighting last October 7.

“We appreciate the concern of international observers on the state of the Philippine media and we assure them that the Philippine government continues to do its role in ensuring a media environment that is free from fear as evidenced by our many whole of government activities on media literacy and safety as well as in our reports to these international bodies.

“Meanwhile, the number of journalist fatalities in Gaza alone, if not promptly addressed, would inevitably surpass the 32 journalists killed in the Philippines in 2009, Gutierrez said, referring to the November 23, 2009 ‘Ampatuan Massacre’ in Maguindanao.

In relation to this, Gutierrez said the task force, along with the Presidential Communications Office (PCO) is organizing an event on November 23 to commemorate the 14th year of the massacre and remind Filipinos on the urgent need to address impunity and in giving justice to all victims of violence.

Ahead of this, Gutierrez said the PTFoMS has also organized at least 3 more regional media summits until the end of the year for members of the working press in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.

On November 7, Gutierrez said that a region-wide media safety summit for members of the press in Southern and Central Luzon would be held in Tagaytay City, in partnership with the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO).

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