MANILA -- Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFoMS) Executive Director Joel Egco on Thursday slammed a "rehashed" news article tagging the Philippines as one of the deadliest places for journalists.

“It was a very old report,” Egco said in an interview with Philippine News Agency (PNA), referring to Agence France-Presse’s article that came out in the Philippine Daily Inquirer with the title “Iraq, PH deadliest places for journalists says, media group.”

The news article was based on the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ)’s list of journalists killed from 1990 to 2015.

According to report, the FJI noted more than 2,600 deaths of journalists since 1990, with conflict-ridden Iraq topping the list with 336 followed by the Philippines with 153, and Mexico with 145.

“Yes, probably, it is a factual one but the timing is suspect. It’s already 2018. It is a misleading headline,” Egco, a former journalist for 20 years, said.

Egco said IFJ, in fact, has provided the latest report on media killings where the Philippines dropped from fourth to sixth place.

“When we came in, we were at No. 5 and now IFJ says we’re already No. 6. So, I was surprised why rehashed, revived such an old story,” Egco said.

He also questioned the Philippine Daily Inquirer for attaching a photo taken during a rally defending Rappler, an online news outfit whose certificate of incorporation was revoked by the Securities and Exchange Commission for violating constitutional restriction on foreign ownership.

“I reacted immediately because we have moral obligation to correct such mistakes, erroneous and misleading information,” Egco said.

Egco, nevertheless, assured that President Rodrigo Duterte is seriously addressing the media killings by signing his first Administrative Order (AO No. 1) that created the PTFoMS in Oct. 11, 2017.

First task force for journos

He said the Philippines is the first in the world to have such kind of task force that addresses the security of journalists.

“We intend to remove the country from the most dangerous list in 2020 or maybe we can do it this year,” he said.

Since the PTFoMS creation, Egco said all five cases of media killings have been solved with two of them “not work-related but due to other reasons.” He was referring to the cases of Larry Que and Chris Lozada.

Under the PTFoMS’ Vision 2020 Action Plan, Egco said the government intends to make the Philippines the safest place for journalists.

“Eventually, we are going to ask international watchdogs to remove us from the list,” he said. (PNA)