MANILA – During World Press Freedom Day, Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar has emphasized the vital role of having a free press during this time of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic, noting that the public has heavily relied on getting their information from the media.
In his statement on Monday, Andanar underscored that an open, free, and pluralistic press remains a vital foundation of a democratic, informed, and empowered society.
“Its presence plays a key role in preventing people from being unknowing of essential and life-saving information and government programs and services, to which the situation we are all in currently calls for,” he said.
He cited the efforts of members of the media in increasing public awareness on the responses that the government is currently undertaking to curb the impacts of the pandemic.
The media has been an invaluable partner of the government in disseminating important announcements and information that allow the public to understand the Covid-19, and likewise provide them with updates on the implementation of various emergency measures and initiatives.
“With the Covid-19 pandemic, the importance of an open and free press has become very evident as it allows for the flow of essential and life-saving information for us all. It has also assisted the Duterte administration in increasing public awareness of policies and programs, such as the ayuda (aid) payouts, targeted testing, and the current vaccine inoculation, which address the virus and its effects,” he said. “The untiring reportage and coverage provided by the press on important matters have helped keep us updated of the facts and the news.”
Andanar further noted that the Duterte administration continues to support the freedom of the press. This is evident through the various initiatives and legislations of the government, including the Freedom of Information, Presidential Task Force on Media Security, and the expanded Sotto Law.
“The rights and freedom of the press have always been important to this administration as it benefits every Filipino,” he said.
He urged members of the press to help strengthen the trust and relationship between the Filipino people and the government by relentlessly combating malicious information that in turn can create confusion and public discord.
“May we continue to eradicate biased information, disinformation, and fake news that are damaging not only to our society, but also to the trust and relationship between the government and the people, by working together at this crucial time despite our differences,” he said.
“We salute the heroism, commitment, and bravery of all journalists and media workers as they fulfill their work. We pray for the safety and well-being of everyone as we recover from this global health crisis,” he added. (PNA)