Press Release
December 6, 2010

Co-Sponsorship Speech
"An Act Qualifying the Killing of Members of Broadcast and Print Media on the Occasion of the Exercise of Their Functions, As a Crime of Murder"
Committee Report No. 9

Mr. President, this representation wishes to co-sponsor this measure that would qualify the killing of members of broadcast and print media in the performance of their duties as a crime of murder.

One year had passed since the ruthless and gruesome killing of 57 individuals, including 32 journalists in Maguindanao. This is so far the worst massacre of media practitioners in our history, and we would not want a repeat of this incident ever again.

In fact, the Maguindanao massacre has been attributed to our decline in the 2010 World Press Freedom Index by the Reporters Without Borders.

From our 2009 rank of 122, we suffered a heavy fall--34 notches down--this year as we ranked 156 out of 178 countries included in the list.

Furthermore, a study by the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility showed that, sans the victims of the Maguindanao massacre, there have been 28 journalists and media practitioners killed in the line of duty since 2001.

Mr. President, these numerous cases have tarnished our country's state of press freedom, supposedly one of the freest in the world. As a former journalist myself, I cannot let this cycle of violence go on. We cannot sit idly by and watch our country, which is a democratic state, be branded as a nation where the media's freedom is curtailed by silencing the messengers of news and seekers of truth.

We have to put a stop to the killing of journalists and media practitioners. We must protect them while in the lawful exercise of their functions. And we can be instrumental in achieving that through the immediate passage of this measure.

Thank you, Mr. President.

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