Statements: NUJP rejects PTFOMS proposal to regulate press through ‘Magna Carta’

By NATIONAL UNION OF JOURNALISTS OF THE PHILIPPINES
www.nordis.net

July 22, 2018

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines rejects outright the proposal of the Presidential Task Force on Media Security to regulate the profession in the guise of a “Magna Carta” and urge all colleagues as well as media owners to unite in opposing this clear threat to freedom of the press and of expression.

SunStar Baguio reported (https://www.sunstar.com.ph/article/1753879/Baguio/Local-News/Magna-Carta-for-media-workers-pushed) PTFOMS Executive Director Joel Egco as saying the proposed measure would seek to professionalize journalism through qualifying and classifying exams.

“If you want to become a media personality, you will have to take an exam every six months to assess your qualification which would set either a managerial position or a corresponding salary level or grade equivalent to that of government,” Egco was quoted as saying.

This is, in fact, not the first time the idea of regulating, even licensing, journalists has been proposed. And the NUJP, along with other media and free expression advocates, has consistently opposed and thwarted all such attempts.

We do not question the intent of Usec Egco, himself a former colleague.

But the proposed “Magna Carta,” which goes so far as to set salary grades depending on “competency,” is fraught with danger, not least of all allowing government to determine who can or cannot be a journalist, which is totally anathema to a profession that can thrive only in independence. 

We maintain that journalism is an extension of freedom of expression and serves the people’s sacrosanct right to the information they need to make decisions about their individual and collective lives. 

The Magna Carta would also infringe on the rights of media owners and managers to determine who to employ.

We cannot allow government – this or any other – the opportunity to meddle in any way not only in the profession that serves as the people’s watchdog against official abuse but in any other matter that may endanger freedom of the press and of expression, and the people’s sacred right to know. # nordis.net

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