BACOLOD CITY – Mayor Evelio Leonardia on Monday underscored the importance of a free press in a democratic society as this city joins the observance of the World Press Freedom Day 2021.
“There can be no real democracy if media is not free but this must also come with its corresponding responsibilities and ethics,” Mayor Evelio Leonardia said in a statement.
In Bacolod, World Press Freedom is marked on May 3 each year as declared by City Ordinance No. 687 to recognize and respect the freedom of the press as an inseparable partner of a democratic society.
“The observance of World Press Freedom Day in Bacolod tells us that indeed our city is in sync with the rest of the free world. We call media the fourth estate because that is how highly we value freedom of the press,” Leonardia said.
The theme of the World Press Freedom Day 2021 is “Information as a Public Good,” which serves as a call to affirm the importance of cherishing information as a public good; explore what can be done in the production, distribution, and reception of content to strengthen journalism; and advance transparency and empowerment while leaving no one behind.
Related activities for World Press Freedom Day will be held in Bacolod this month, which will be organized by the Bacolod City Public Information Office in partnership with the Negros Press Club, Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas-Negros Occidental Chapter, and the Philippine Information Agency-Negros Occidental Information Center.
Meanwhile, President Rodrigo Duterte affirmed the government’s ongoing commitment to protect press freedom and to promote free press in observance of World Press Freedom Day.
“I join the Filipino people and the international community in the annual observance of World Press Freedom Day. This year’s celebration affirms the Philippines’ commitment to protect press freedom as a public good and as an indispensable requirement of a vibrant democracy,” Duterte said in a recorded message.
In her message, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization Director-General Audrey Azoulay said this year’s theme underlines the indisputable importance of verified and reliable information.
“It calls attention to the essential role of free and professional journalists in producing and disseminating this information, by tackling misinformation and other harmful content,” Azoulay added. (PNA)