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Mindanao Journalists Organise Around Safety

Mindanao Journalists Organise Around Safety

Article ID:

22178

Ahead of the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Againt Journalists (IDEI), the Mindanao Safety and Security Summit opened with calls for greater security guarantees for media workers to “ensure a vibrant, free press.”

The two-day summit, taking place in Davao City, Mindanao over the 25th and 26th October, brought together 50 members of the working press under the umbrella of the Mindanao Independent Press Council (MIPC), a new body established to organise media professionals on the island around common issues of concern – notably safety and security. 

NewsLine Philippines Publisher, WAN-IFRA Media Freedom Committee Chairperson, and MIPC President, Edith Caduaya, said despite the immense challenges facing media in Mindanao, the Council aims to adhere to the highest ethical standards of journalism.

“We are not perfect, but we try to be decent, especially in the era of disinformation,” she said. “Journalists are facing the challenge to continue telling the truth without fear or favour. When a legitimate news story is commercialized and politicized, journalist safety is compromised,” she added.

Mindanao came to international attention following the 2009 Maguindanao massacre, in which 58 people were killed during local political campaigning near the town of Ampatuan in south-central Maguindanao province. Thirty-four journalists were among those who died – the single most deadly attack on journalists anywhere in the world.

The island has also long been home to rival political and economic factions, criminal groups, insurgents and – most recently – ISIS and its affiliates; as a result, Martial Law continues to be in place across Mindanao. All of which contributes to an extremely challenging environment for local journalists.

In April 2018, during a four-day media safety-training workshop hosted by WAN-IFRA and the ACOS Alliance, with the support of Reuters, the initial MIPC members agreed to formally organize themselves in a bid to ensure each other’s safety, as well as come up with a mechanism to protect journalists.

The MIPC has subsequently been officially recognised and issued a certificate of registration by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) of the Philippines. The MIPC has grown to include media from across the political and editorial spectrum, ensuring a diverse space for discussion and a rare opportunity for common ground to be found.

“We must agree and get our act together in the spirit of press freedom - anchored on the real role of the press as the purveyor of truth and as the watchdog over our society,” Caduaya emphasized.

The Mindanao Safety and Security Summit closed with the release of a manifesto calling on the Philippine authorities to do more to ensure the safety and protection of journalists. Read the manifesto.

 


The Mindanao Media Freedom Committee, one of three Committees established in the Philippines, guides and informs WAN-IFRA’s advocacy work, allowing the organisation to respond to and support the direct needs of media professionals on the ground.


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Andrew Heslop's picture

Andrew Heslop

Date

2018-10-26 10:36

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Author

Andrew Heslop's picture

Andrew Heslop

Date

2018-04-30 12:59

In countless countries, journalists, editors and publishers are physically attacked, imprisoned, censored, suspended or harassed for their work. WAN-IFRA is committed to defending freedom of expression by promoting a free and independent press around the world. Read more ...