[From the web] This year’s World Press Freedom Day takes on a special meaning around a world in quarantine -FMA

This year’s World Press Freedom Day takes on a special meaning around a world in quarantine.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, countries have been forced to go on lockdown, close borders, discourage physical contact and mass gatherings, and resort to other measures that may have the incidental effect of concentrating power to a few. Never has there been more opportunity for authoritarian leaders to consolidate the government’s might in order to stifle some essential freedoms — such as the right of movement and speech and expression — in the name of public health. Never has there been an opportunity to control the flow of information and skirt around public accountability for government failures.

In the Philippines, activists critical of the government especially are only too easily prosecuted for ‘illegal assembly’ for holding placards during relief operations, as is the case for those arrested by police in Marikina, or the overseas Filipino worker in Taiwan threatened to be deported by the Philippine government. Even student journalists’ freedoms are stamped on by barangay officials — in fact, local government officials take the lead in censoring posts and actions critical of the government, even if these fall squarely within free speech rights. Reporters have also been attacked by pro-government political activists.

The COVID-19 pandemic has also ushered in a ‘twin’ pandemic: a pandemic of disinformation, or an ‘infodemic,’ as defined by the World Health Organization, where false news about the virus may spread faster than the virus itself. This is made more challenging since a lot about the COVID-19 disease are uncertain, and even scientists do not profess to know everything about the virus. Where citizens now mainly rely on the internet for information, and where most interactions are made online, journalists are burdened to take on their responsibility to provide fair, accurate, and independent reports all the more seriously, with the added duty to provide context and balance.

Read full article @www.fma.ph

Submit your contribution online through HRonlinePH@gmail.com
Include your full name, e-mail address, and contact number.

All submissions are republished and redistributed in the same way that it was originally published online and sent to us. We may edit submission in a way that does not alter or change the original material.

Human Rights Online Philippines does not hold copyright over these materials. Author/s and original source/s of information are retained including the URL contained within the tagline and byline of the articles, news information, photos, etc.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.