Press Release
December 29, 2013

Poe seeks declaration of Philippine Press Freedom Day

A bill declaring November 23 as Philippine Press Freedom Day was filed by Senator Grace Poe.

"The commemoration of Philippine Press Freedom Day shall serve as a fitting reminder that we will never forget sacrifices of these journalists who gave up their lives in the practice of their profession," Poe said in Senate Bill 2044's explanatory note.

"The Philippine Press Freedom Day seeks to promote and uphold freedom and heighten awareness on press freedom, so that journalists may freely and securely report the truth no matter who gets hurt by it," she added.

"While we are considered to have the freest press in Asia, we are also bombarded with numbers of murdered and disappeared journalists. Remembered as the single deadliest event for journalists in recent history, the Maguindanao massacre is and continues to be a symbol of the fight for press freedom and (journalists') rights in the practice of their profession," she said.

Poe encourages meaningful observance of Philippine press freedom on the day of the gruesome Maguindanao massacre to mark the Filipino journalists' sacrifices.

"Certainly, the Maguindanao massacre is a wanton violation or their rights, and the day that such an abuse of power and machinery happened at the expense or innocent truth seekers must be a day to commemorate and honor their sacrifices to prevent another ignominy in the history of the Philippine press," she added.

On November 23, 2009, Philippine press history changed in an instant as 57 people were killed on one of the most gruesome politically motivated crimes o[the decade. Genalyn Magudadatu and her family, most of them women, joined by 37 journalists, composed a convoy of five cars on the way to the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) to file her husband Ismael Mangudadatu's candidacy.

They were met by a hundred armed men, forcefully led into a vacant lot and were shot at close range, and most of them either abused, raped or mutilated, evidently as part of efforts to prevent them from filing.

The senator stressed that, "Freedom of the press not only includes the rights to speech and write but also includes the right to be respected and protected from threats, intimidation and harm to their lives and property while in the pursuit of their profession."

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