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Loren seeks immediate passage of bill qualifying media killing as a crime of murder

October 23, 2010

SENATOR LOREN LEGARDA TODAY PUSHED FOR THE IMMEDIATE PASSAGE OF A PROPOSED MEASURE THAT SEEKS TO QUALIFY THE KILLING OF MEMBERS OF BROADCAST AND PRINT MEDIA IN THE PERFORMANCE OF THEIR DUTIES AS A CRIME OF MURDER.
Legarda stressed the importance of the measure as she noted that the Philippines fell 34 notches in the world press freedom ranking primarily due to the Maguindanao massacre.
“The numerous cases of journalists and media practitioners killed in the line of duty have tarnished our country’s state of press freedom, supposedly one of the freest in the world,” Legarda said.
“Recently, the Reporters Without Borders released its 2010 World Press Freedom Index where we ranked 156th, a heavy fall from our previous record. 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,” she added.
The Reporters Without Borders ranks the state of press freedom of 178 countries. The 2010 rank of the Philippines is a sharp fall from its previous rank of 122nd in 2009.
The decline was attributed to the Maguindanao massacre in November 2009 when 57 people were killed, including 32 journalists.
In this regard, Legarda, who is a former journalist herself, said that she would push for the immediate passage of Senate Bill 1426, which seeks to amend Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code to qualify the killing of members of broadcast and print media in the performance of their duties as a crime of murder.
“We have to put a stop to the killing of journalists and media practitioners. This measure seeks to protect them while in the lawful exercise of their functions,” Legarda said.