On the proposed Magna Carta for media workers

Photo from Sun.Star Baguio

The recent move of the Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFMS) to regulate the media through the proposed Magna Carta is a misguided attempt to address the current situation of the Philippine press by a politically erratic regime known for its pseudo-journalists, trolls, fake news and manipulation of public opinion.

The highest law of the land explicitly states that “no law shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech, of expression, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances” (Section 4, Article III of the Philippine Constitution). This constitutional freedom guarantees our right to freely utter and publish our judgment and opinion without restriction or interference for as long as it is found not injurious to a third person with a right recognized by law or is not contrary to law.

The proposal infringes on the people’s right to know and impart what someone deems to be necessary and correct. It smothers our moral and intellectual development by weeding out “incompetent” and “unethical journalists” based on the standards set by the state whose biases and sensibilities are geared towards the creation of state-sponsored fake news that dumb down the toiling masses. It shrinks the media’s ability to keep the government in check especially now that the state is drastically leaning to a complete dictatorship.

Journalism is a noble profession. It practices the highest code of ethics that goes beyond serving the interests of an individual, group, even the government. It is a principled profession that aims to air the voices of the unheard; a public service that one puts effort on, even at the expense of their own lives.

The desperate attempt of the Duterte regime to repress any opposition to its interest will never be forgotten. The brutal assault of the state against press freedom and the democratic rights of the people will not stop the College Editors Guild of the Philippines, journalists, media practitioners, organizations, and individuals to fulfill its duty to uphold truth, freedom, and justice.

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