Wednesday, May 02, 2007

US State Dep’t says RP press freedom ‘deteriorating’

50th journalist killed under Arroyo

The suppression of press freedom in the Philippines has something to do with the legitimacy of Gloria Arroyo presidency. She conspired with the military in the ouster of popularly elected President Joseph Estrada in 2001 and cheated the 2004 presidential election. Gloria Arroyo and her cohorts are suppressing the media to hide their crimes committed against the Filipino people. Political dissenters are physically eliminated, abducted, harassed and intimidated. The surge of political killings came after she declared all-out war against the NDF-CPP-NPA. Rampant violation of civil liberties and human rights abuses are committed by security forces. Gloria Arroyo harassed the media thru his corrupt husband Miguel Arroyo who filed multiple libel cases against 43 reporters, columnists, editors and publishers of various print media. About fifty journalists from print and broadcast media had been killed since 2001 power grab. Criminal justice system is a total failure under Philippine bogus President Gloria Arroyo. Extra-judicial and political killing is being tolerated to silence dissenters.

US State Dep’t says RP press freedom ‘deteriorating’

Daily Tribune 05/03/2007

The United States said on Wednesday that press freedom in the Philippines is “dete-riorating.”

In a statement, the US State Department lumped the Philip-pines along with Afghanistan, Venezuela, Pakistan, Russia, Egypt and Lebanon on its list of countries with “deteriorating conditions for press freedom.”

“We are... concerned about increasing limitations on press freedoms around the world. In many countries, governments are tightening libel laws, media ownership is increasingly controlled by governments and pro-government forces, the number of independent press outlets is declining, restrictions on Internet search engines and the rights of citizens to express themselves freely over the Internet are multiplying, and those who try to independently seek, receive or disseminate information and ideas are being persecuted,” the State Department said.

Meanwhile, the US has identified 13 countries with “continually poor records on press freedom.”

These are Burma, Eritrea, North Korea, Equatorial Guinea, Cuba, Iran, Turkmenistan, Tunisia, Uzbekistan, Syria, Belarus, China and Zimbabwe.

Earlier, Paris-based Reporters sans Frontieres (RSF-Reporters without Borders) tagged the Philippines as a worst place for media with continued killings of From page 1

journalists and increased legal harassment by President Arroyo’s husband Jose Miguel “Mike” Arroyo.

Mr. Arroyo also yesterday was advised by Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel Jr. to refrain from worrying much about funding the administration party Kabalikat ng Mamamayang Pilipino (Kampi) and from going after journalists whom he feels have wronged him.

Pimentel, during an interview at the Fernandina Forum in Club Filipino in Greenhills, San Juan (Metro Manila), said he agrees with the advice of the doctors of the First Gentleman for him to shun stressful activities, adding politics carries so much stress in it so he should avoid engaging in it.

Mr. Arroyo last Monday was released from St. Luke’s Medical Center in Quezon City more than three weeks after undergoing critical surgery there to correct an aortic aneurysm.

“I agree with that advice and he should not fund the activities of Kampi because they are all looking up to him for funding. One of the rests he should take is rest from funding Kampi,” Pimentel said.

According to him, the President’s husband should start forgiving those whom he felt have done him wrong since his “sins” were forgiven by the Creator as evidenced by having been given him a new lease in life.

“He should be forgiving enough. I think the Lord was kind enough to forgive him his trespasses by ensuring his operation was successful. If he felt the journalists concerned trespassed on his name, then maybe he should not take that against them anymore and just forgive them. Anyway, he is a public official and to my mind there is no libel there,” Pimentel said.

Dr. Juliet Gopez-Cervantes, Mr. Arroyo’s lead physician, had said considering the difficulty of the operation and the First Gentleman’s age (60), he has remarkably recovered.

Cervantes added the patient personally requested that he walk out of the hospital instead of being seated on a wheelchair.

A van took him to Malacañang.

Mr. Arroyo was handed by doctors a “can and cannot do” list to achieve the three-month target for full recovery, including controlling his blood pressure and modifying his lifestyle.

Cervantes said unless necessary the patient should avoid reading newspapers because his blood pressure could shoot up.

She added he must also strictly follow his diet and take his medicines regularly.

The doctor said the First Gentleman would have to learn how to “manage stress.”

Cervantes added Mr. Arroyo should go easy on sugar but “we are still giving him some leeway in terms of the diet, as long as it’s not too fatty, not too oily, that’s about it, but he can eat a lot of protein because we want the wounds to heal fast.”

The President’s husband has to go back to the hospital every other day for cardiac rehabilitation.

In RSF’s 2006 Worldwide Press Freedom Index, the Philippines placed 142nd in a survey composed of 168 nations.

It has been in the RSF’s worst-ranked countries list for three consecutive years.

At the same time, the group also criticized Mrs. Arroyo for curtailing freedom of the press.

“President Gloria Arroyo, weakened by a series of scandals, tried to stop the press from doing its job of safeguarding democracy,” the RSF said.

It also cited the Philippines as the most dangerous country for journalists after Iraq.

RSF noted journalists are murdered, as was Marlene Esperat in March, for investigating corruption and criticism of local authorities.

It added that politicians and officials exposed by the local press use other less radical methods to silence their critics.

On the other hand, Washington reaffirmed its commitment to upholding press freedom worldwide.

It noted that freedom of the press is a key component of democracy.

“The free exchange of ideas fosters accountable government and allows the viewpoints of many, including the marginalized in a society, to be heard. The United States works bilaterally and multilaterally in many ways to support press freedom worldwide,” Washington said. Michaela P. del Callar and Jojo Arazas



Post a Comment

<< Home

free web counter
free web counter