On the creation of the Presidential Task Force on Media Killings

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Ref.: PAUL M. GUTIERREZ//0977-1730127

October 14, 2016

THE National Press Club welcomes the action of Pres. Rodrigo Duterte in signing Administrative Order No. 1, creating the Presidential Task Force on Media Killing as announced on Thursday, October 13, 2016, by Malacañang.

As one of the media groups earlier consulted by the Duterte administration while the AO is under discussion, we are confident that this new task force is a far cry from the previous task force of the past regime (Task Force AO 35).

We note that under TF AO 35, the NPC was merely used as an ornament to deflect criticisms on the Aquino government’s inutility in addressing the issue of media killings and other forms of harassment against the members of the press during the entirety of its term.

For this new task force to succeed, we call on everyone to give it the support that it needs; criticisms and expressions of apprehension as to its effectiveness this early can only be divisive and unproductive.

May we also remind our colleagues that while the freedom of the press and the freedom of expression are fundamental rights, these should be exercised within the bounds of the Journalist’s Code of Ethics.

Pres. Duterte’s pronouncements, to include those related to the interest of the media, have always been the subject of conflicting interpretation.

However, the creation of this new task force clearly sends the message that his action speaks louder than his words.

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