Dispatch from Crame No. 397: Sen. Leila M. de Lima on police visits to media outfits


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Recent reports indicated that members of the Philippine National Police (PNP) have been visiting media outfits “to embark on partnerships” with the press. This, however, did not sit well with journalists, as they caught police officers taking photos of their offices and personnel without their consent.

While engaging stakeholders, such as journalists, is necessary, it should not be used as a pretext to conduct surveillance nor to intimidate reporters.

If the PNP or any government agency for that matter is really bent on partnering with the press, the only thing it needs to do is respect its right to cover and report without any fear of reprisal.

There is a reason why media is called the Fourth Estate. It has the mandate to check abuses of those in power by exposing the truth and enabling the public to participate in public discourses. If the government intrudes on this function of journalists, then democracy is in real trouble.

Couple these police “visits” with “red-tagging” of universities and churches critical to the administration and we see a fresh wave of initiatives towards authoritarian rule.

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