By Ernie Reyes | InterAksyon
In his speech at the celebration of the National Press Club’s 63rd founding anniversary, Marcos noted that the Committee to Protect Journalists ranked the Philippines as the third most dangerous place in the world for journalists, next only to war-torn Iraq and Syria.
Marcos, who is running for Vice President in the 2016 election, believes the root of the problem lies in the fact that the role of media is largely misunderstood, that many people in power think they are untouchable, and that weaknesses are evident in the pillars of our justice system.
“Media is the special army among our citizenry, who, because of the nature of their profession, bring to light, speak and write those, which the general public would not have the capacity or the time, or would not even have the guts, to know about, let alone speak or write about,” he said.
On the other hand, Marcos said many of those in power mistakenly believe no one should dare to get in their way.
What makes matters worse is that investigation, prosecution and trial of cases of media killings often drag on, and that some arrested suspects even manage to get special treatment inside jail.
To address the problem, Marcos said there should be a constant effort to educate the people and public servants on the important role of media, reminding likewise the people in power that even if unjustly accused they can take comfort in the “balm of a clear conscience”.
“I know this for a fact. Ako po mismo, na isang halal na Senador ng Republika, ay walang-kawala at hindi ‘exempted’ sa mga banat at batikos ng ating mga matatapang at magigiting na mamamahayag na tulad ninyo (I, for one, as an elected senator of the republic, cannot escape and am not ‘exempted’ from the criticisms of our brave and courageous people like you),” Marcos said.
Likewise, he said there is a need to speed up the entire justice system and involve the community as well, particularly in using new technology to deter or solve crimes.
On the part of the journalists, Marcos said the media industry should adopt an effective-self regulation system that allows for redress for those unjustly maligned.
“In order to address this complex cultural problem, we have to go down to the very root causes. As the Vice-President of the Republic, I will commit to devote my entire term to work out and implement the solutions pursuant to my analysis,” Marcos said.
The senator also paid tribute to the memories of the 32 journalists slain in Maguindanao, murdered whistle-blower Mark Welson Chua, and all other journalists who have died in the exercise of their profession.