Press Release
February 16, 2010


Criticizing the country's poor track record of protecting the rights of journalists, Vice-Presidentiable Loren Legarda reassured the country's media practitioners of her support for journalists' welfare by pushing for better compensation, benefits and hazard insurance.

"We've been labeled by the world as the worst place for journalists-even worse than Iraq-and last November's Maguindanao massacre was just one of the most gruesome criminal incidents our journalists faced in line of duty of keeping the country informed. Our media practitioners deserve more protection against these threats ," said Loren.

"We rely on our press to uphold truth and transparency. The media is indispensable to a working democracy. A country's maturity level of democracy is reflected on how freedom of speech and the rights of journalists are respected. A society is judged by how the voice of its press is heard and felt by its citizens, and how public opinion is shaped. It is critical that we protect their welfare," Loren urged.

A journalist herself, Loren authored Senate Bill No. 1398, the Journalist Welfare and Protection Act to mandate media outfits to offer better compensation and benefits package for their reporters. She has also authored a bill to impose harsher penalties on murder of journalists, penalizing it under Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code ranging from reclusion perpetual to death sentence.

"While our media professionals work hard to bring the truth to people and keep watch of anomalies in the government, we in the legislative front must ensure their protection and welfare," she concluded.

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