De Lima to int’l community: This is how we protect journalists in PH
MANILA, Philippines—Justice Secretary Leila De Lima shared with the international community the Philippine government’s approach in addressing the extra-judicial killings, torture and enforced disappearances as well as the importance of protecting journalists.
Speaking before a United Nations meeting in France, De Lima pointed out the importance of protecting journalists “as a clear juncture in eradicating the culture of impunity in the country.” The event was held a few days after the UN’s inaugural commemoration of the international day to end impunity for crimes against journalists.
She said a composite team composed of members from various government agencies have been tasked to investigate all cases of extra-judicial killings, enforced disappearances, torture and other human rights violations.
The team, she said, was focused on case build-up and speedy resolution for all unsolved and new cases.
“This means a more pre-positioned personnel to respond quickly to these cases,” De Lima said during her speech at the UN Inter-Agency Meeting on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity held at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, France.
De Lima also vowed to foster synergies and to continue collaboration with security forces, the academe and non-governmental organizations “to establish a standing effort that will harness the tools to ensure the safety of journalists and to effectively bring those responsible for the killings of journalists to justice, through a more human rights-based, context-sensitive and multi-disciplinary approach.”
Present during the meetings were officials from the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression, the Council of Europe and the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.
Details from the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR) showed that 19 journalists have been killed since 2010 when Benigno Aquino III assumed the Presidency. Meanwhile, in 2013 alone, at least 66 instances of threats, physical assaults, illegal arrests, libel suits and other forms of harassment against journalists have been recorded in the Philippines.
The CMFR also noted a total of 145 Filipino journalists have been killed for their work since 1986 with only 14 convictions.
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