Crimes vs media undermine democratic system — CMFR

POINTING out that crimes against the press undermine the democratic system, a media watchdog group said on Thursday that reporting them must be framed in the context of a human rights violation.

“We cover attacks against the press like criminal cases,” said Melinda Quintos-de Jesus, Center for Media Freedom (CMFR) executive director, who referred to these incidents as “a violation of human rights” and “a significant threat to Philippine democracy.”

Citing at least 135 attacks on media and the press since July 2022, the CMFR bewailed how three of these ended up in the deaths of media personalities, Renato Blanco, Percy Lapid (real name: Percival Mabasa), and Cresencio Bunduqin.

“I have always pointed out that the killings of journalists in the Philippines are due to the endemic culture of violence and how easy it is to get guns, how easy it is to use guns if you are in power and if you have the money to hire assassins,” said Ms. Quintos-de Jesus.

She stressed the need for public support to safeguard the media, advocating for citizen awareness of the press’ pivotal role in democracy. She also warned that politicians could face accountability for attacks on journalists if Filipinos recognize the media’s significance. — Kenneth Christiane L. Basilio