MANILA – Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) Chief Persida Acosta on Tuesday urged that disputes with the media should be settled in court instead of through bloodshed.
“Meron mga nasasagasaan ang ating mga kasama sa media na talaga namang may impluwensiya, may kapangyarihan, may kayamanan, at ang kanilang nagiging result ay ikli ng buhay ng ating mga kasama (There are media practitioners who clash with influential, powerful, or rich individuals, and this results in shortened lives),” Acosta said during the 2023 National Capital Region Media Summit held at the Bayview Park Hotel in Manila.
She pointed out however that there are laws in place and effective legal processes for those who have grudges against journalists as well as public servants.
“Bigyan natin ng pagkakataon ang rule of law and justice. Daanin sa proseso. At kaugnay nito, kailangan po ang mga pag-aaral po ng ating mga kasama sa media ng batas upang maiwasan ang galit at bangis ng mga nasasagasaan (Let’s give a chance to the rule of law and justice. Let’s go through the process. And with this, our media practitioners should also study the law to avoid the ire of those being imputed)” Acosta said.
Among some of the common lawsuits filed against journalists are cyber-libel or libel under the revised penal code, she said.
In a separate speech, Presidential Communications Office (PCO) Assistant Secretary Michel Andre Del Rosario said a “free and responsible press” in the country is a “cornerstone of any democracy.”
“It is through the diligent and courageous work of our journalists, that we are kept informed, enlightened, and engaged in the affairs of our nation,” he said.
The media summit organized by the Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFoMS), with the theme "Promoting a free and responsible press towards a safer media community" is part of the government’s efforts to address violence against journalists.
“It is our solemn duty to address these issues head-on and ensure that those who seek to silence the press are brought to justice,” Del Rosario said.
Senior media practitioners, lawyers, and legal experts discussed several topics during the event to educate participating journalists on the present condition of the country’s media landscape.
The PTFoMS - through the PAO and the Puno and Puno Law Offices – also held a free legal aid clinic for journalists during the latter part of the event.
PTFoMS executive director, Undersecretary Paul Gutierrez, said the summit is only the beginning of a series of events organized for media practitioners.
He said succeeding legs of the event will be held in the Davao Region, Tagaytay City for the Southern Luzon leg, and in Subic for the Central Luzon leg. (PNA)