Avoid abusing press freedom

June 02, 2019

COMMUNICATIONS Secretary Martin Andanar yesterday called on journalists joining the media caravan in Japan to avoid abusing press freedom, citing Japanese ethical standards for media responsibility.

During the fourth leg of Presidential Communications Operations Office’s (PCOO) Press Freedom Caravan in Tokyo on Saturday, Andanar, a former broadcast journalist, reminded media practitioners of the principles in the exercise of the freedom of the press.

“Freedom and responsibility are the words in my equation, precisely because we are Asian. Although we may have inherited the concept of freedom of the press (from) the West, it is imperative that our culture should restrain us from the abuse of this freedom,” Andanar said.

Citing the ancient Japanese Bushido Code, Andanar stressed the ethical standards that should direct the lives of journalists include justice, courage, benevolence, politeness, sincerity, honor, loyalty, and self-control.

Andanar pointed out that media responsibility serves as “safeguards against fabricated news, scandals, violence, greed, corruption, and profligacy.”

“Freedom of the press is defined by the responsibility to the truth. There can only be one threshold of the truth on which press freedom is exercised. This is the personal honor that every journalist must follow from the heart. We make the world a better place to live in,” said Andanar.

The  PCOO said  about 30 Filipino and Japanese journalists participated in the caravan where they discussed the present situation of press freedom in the Philippines.

Held in Japan, the activity was the fourth leg of the Press Freedom Caravan, following the ones undertaken in Thailand, Europe, and Hong Kong.

Together with the Office of the Global Media Affairs, the PCOO was set to hold a Press Freedom Caravan for overseas Filipino workers yesterday.

The European leg of the Press Freedom Caravan became controversial after senators questioned its agenda and timing, taking place at the time a vocal critic of the administration, journalist and Rappler CEO Maria Ressa, was under arrest.

At the time, Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan claimed that with the European leg, the present administration was just clearing its name before the international community about Ressa’s arrest.But, Andanar reiterated that the project’s primary objective was to clarify the issue on involuntary disappearances and anti-communist terrorist groups in the country, and has nothing to with Ressa’s arrest.