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1st Philippine Media Safety Summit: Discussing gains and gaps, renewing commitments

1st Philippine Media Safety Summit: Discussing gains and gaps, renewing commitments

“All of these letters may sound to you like just a bowl of alphabet soup, acronyms, but they do represent a situation that is not found in many countries in Southeast Asia or in Asia, which is the expression of solidarity, the expression of the principle that the collective defense must be done by all.”

—Melinda Quintos de Jesus, Executive Director, Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility

 

It has been five years since the launch of the Philippine Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists (PPASJ) in 2019.

 

The Philippine Plan was the product of a participatory, multi-stakeholder process from 2018 to 2019, involving the media, academia, civil society, and the government, drafted through consultations and dialogues in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.

 

Many of these stakeholders worked to fulfill the Philippine Plan’s vision and goals, and some of these initiatives have been mapped in this PPASJ monitoring table: https://aijc.com.ph/ppasj-monitoring-table-projects-activities-related-to-the-implementation-of-the-philippine-plan-of-action-on-the-safety-of-journalists-ppasj/.

 

In commemoration of World Press Freedom Day, journalists, representatives of media outlets and organizations, and press freedom advocates gathered on May 2-3 at the 1st Philippine Media Safety Summit, which sought to provide a safe space for discussing persistent and emerging issues on journalist safety.

 

What came out of the discussions? There were more questions than answers, and more problems than solutions. But this realization brought reassurance; for despite the various evolving challenges and constraints, the news media and citizens resolved to continue working hand in hand in upholding press freedom.

 

There is power in the “expression of solidarity,” as pointed out by Melinda Quintos de Jesus, Executive Director of the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR), during her presentation on the state of media safety in the country.

 

Red Batario, Executive Director of the Center for Community Journalism and Development (CCJD), underscored that the summit is “a strategy to broaden support for the Philippine Plan of Action.”

 

The commitment to continue the Plan’s implementation was made explicit in the “Philippine Media Safety Summit Declaration: A Call for the Protection and Safety of Journalists in the Philippines” that the summit participants and convenors helped put together.

 

After the summit, with support from UNESCO and the United Nations Joint Programme on Human Rights (UNJP), a nationwide roadshow and series of dialogues with stakeholders on the Plan’s implementation will follow.

 

The 1st Philippine Media Safety Summit was jointly convened by the Asian Institute of Journalism and Communication (AIJC), CCJD, Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines (FOCAP), Freedom for Media Freedom for All (FMFA) Coalition, MindaNews, National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP), Peace and Conflict Journalism Network (PECOJON), Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ), Philippine Press Institute (PPI), and University of the Philippines College of Mass Communication.

 

The event was supported by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, UNJP, UNESCO, Internews, USAID, and International Media Support (IMS), as well as corporate partners AirAsia, Cebu Pacific, and San Miguel Corporation

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