Senate, House Bills Propose Additional Benefits for Journalists

Article excerpt

MANILA, Philippines - Senator Loren Legarda on Saturday asked the Senate leadership to prioritize her bill seeking to qualify the killing of members of broadcast and print media while in the performance of their duties as a crime of murder.As a former journalist, Legarda said the passage of her bill when Congress resumes regular session on Nov. 8 is urgent in view of international reactions to the Philippines falling 34 notches in the world press freedom ranking primarily because of the Maguindanao massacre."The numerous cases of journalists and media practitioners killed in the line of duty have tarnished our country's state of press freedom, supposedly one of the freest in the world," Legarda said."Recently, the 'Reporters Without Borders' released its 2010 World Press Freedom Index where we ranked 156th, a heavy fall from our previous record. We cannot sit idly by and watch our country, which is a democratic state, be branded as a nation where the media's freedom is curtailed by silencing the messengers of news and seekers of truth," she added.The Reporters Without Borders ranks the state of press freedom of 178 countries. The 2010 rank of the Philippines is a sharp fall from its previous rank of 122nd in 2009. …