Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Dead journalists? Repressed press? The attacks continue

To those who have been following my Twitter posts lately, they know I've been terribly busy these days (since when did I stop becoming busy, my friends from PulpCommunity who have been egging me to join their swimming break on April 29 would say). I'm sure the frequent readers of this blog (if there are any) would notice how I have become slower in posting here. Plus, I'm out of Manila next week for a weeklong stay in Jakarta for the regionwide activities for this year's World Press Freedom Day. Sigh. I'm actually looking forward to it (visited Bali, but haven't gone to Jakarta), but half of me feels it is better for me to stay here, given the tons of work I'll be leaving here. Sure, I'm taking half of my work in Jakarta, but my Jakarta travel happens at a time when there's so much work in the office. Our interns at the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility can attest to this, I guess. (Note to myself: Have to convince Criz to help me convince our PulpComm friends that I won't be coming to the swimming-slash-reunion, even though half of my friends there would probably not understand and be angry at me for not going, even though the last time we met was ages ago.)

So here I am, just finished with that backbreaking discourse analysis of television news programs of the CMFR's third report of the news media elections coverage monitoring project. Wow. Even just writing that line makes me tired already.

But what makes me more disconcerted these days, however, is this latest stunt from MalacaƱang. The pattern of intimidating the media continues.

President Arroyo issues order further restricting access to information
Source: CMFR

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has issued an Executive Order (EO) that will restrict public and media access to official information. EO 608, issued on 20 April 2007, will create a National Security Clearance System that will "protect and ensure the integrity and sanctity" of classified information against "enemies of the state."

"It is the duty and responsibility of all government departments, agencies and offices to implement security measures that will protect and ensure the integrity and sanctity of classified or sensitive materials or information they have access to or in their possession," the EO said.

Heads of government agencies with access to classified matters are directed by EO 608 to implement and institutionalize the security clearance procedure approved by the office of National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales.

"Any unauthorized disclosure, sharing, publication or use of the information contained in the classified documents or materials shall be considered a grave offense and shall be punishable in accordance with civil service rules and regulations," the EO said.

Departments are also ordered to designate a security officer who will assume responsibility for holding classified information.

Read more here. Meanwhile, physical attacks against journalists continue. Another reporter gets killed. I think I should ask CMFR for a raise. Journalists in this country have become an endangered species. While the Philippines can claim it has the freest press in Asia on paper, the reality speaks otherwise. To borrow the words of CMFR deputy director Sir Louie, God bless all of us.


dana said...

haha. your turn for the pasalubong! :P

bryant said...


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