Int’l group ‘cautiously welcomes’ Duterte EO on FOI
An international journalist group welcomed, albeit with caution, the newly-signed executive order issued by President Rodrigo Duterte which implements the Freedom on Information.
READ: Duterte signs FOI order
The International Federation of Journalists said that there is still a need to bolster the freedom of the press in the country despite the issuance of the EO.
“The IFJ and the NUJP (National Union of Journalists of the Philippines) are pleased by this progress but call on government to expand and strengthen freedom of the press and information in the Philippines,” it said.
The IFJ said that EO is a “step in the right direction” to finally have a Freedom of Information Act that will cover all branches of the government.
“The media in the Philippines is faced by a plethora of challenges and issues, most notably the dire culture of impunity that continues to weaken the media community across the country. Actions such as these work to strengthen and support the media and press freedom in the Philippines,” the international press group added.
Duterte and the Philippine media are still at odds with each other after the President’s remarks last May, which seemingly justified the killing of corrupt journalists, started a firestorm.
This led to a boycott by Duterte on the press, saying that he would only release statements and issuances through state-run media entities.
But on his first State of the Nation Address on Monday, Duterte said that he considers news organizations that belong to the “bona fide” media as “partners for change.”
“This government does not condone violation and repression of media,” Duterte said.
The firebrand President signed the EO last Saturday. The said order will cover all agencies and departments under the executive branch, government-owned and controlled corporations and even state universities and colleges. JE/rga
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