CHR DE LIMA ON THE PROPOSED MAGNA CARTA FOR JOURNALISTS:
“IT IS TIME FOR PRESS PHOTOGRAPHERS TO ASSERT THEIR RIGHTS”
Officers and members of the Press Photographers of the Philippines (PPP) this morning trooped to the Office of Commission on Human Rights (CHR) Chairperson Atty. Leila M. De Lima to formally file complaint of harassment in support of their member against police authorities in Iloilo City at the height of the Dinangyan Festival celebration in the said province.
Upon filing of the complaint by Mr. Jo Haresh Tanodra, PPP Aklan Chapter President, Chairperson De Lima said she will immediately refer the matter to the Commission’s Region Vl Office for verification of facts stated thereat before bringing the case to the Commission En Banc for appropriate action.
The media photographers’ group decried what they described as arrogant behavior and a clear media harassment perpetrated by local city security officers led by retired Chief Inspector Dionisio Duco. Both Mr. Tanodra and another member, Ricky Alejo, PPP-Iloilo chapter, were bodily dragged out of the festivities and prevented from further covering the joyous event. The incident prompted the lens men to bring their grievance before the Commission as they felt their rights were violated.
In a statement delivered during the 2nd PPP Media forum last Saturday, the CHR chief underscored the significant role of the media, particularly photojournalists in human rights promotion and protection:
“It is quite apparent that, just by doing your work, you already are helping in bringing dignity and justice back to victims of human rights violations. By telling the victims’ stories through resonating images, you mobilize the rest of the world to action in order to put an end to indignities suffered upon the less fortunate.
And, because of the enduring quality of your creations, you also provide effective tools in the judicial process by aiding in bringing to justice those who are responsible for perpetrating atrocities against human dignity.”
A day earlier, or during a seminar on media coverage of human rights issues, De Lima also had occasion to stress how crucial media role is: “ With the proverbial pens in their hands, media practitioners have immense power and huge responsibility as well—the obligation, as duty-holders, to stand as the people’s protector against human rights violations. They stand as human rights advocates in their own right. “
According to the CHR leader, the 4th Commission which she heads will bat for the early passage of the proposed Magna Carta for Press Photographers adding that it is high time that they (the photographers) assert their rights which is in relation to the harassment and other form of intimidation attributed in the course of doing their jobs.
When asked to comment on the incident involving TV crew and radio station reporter who were detained at the Quezon City Police District Station 6 for ‘unjust vexation’, Chairperson De Lima said that everyone is welcome to come to the CHR and lodge complaint for human rights violations. The media groups denounced the incident as another form of media harassment.
Supporting the PPP’s cause carrying the banner Respect Rights of Photojournalists were members of the Philippine Center for Photojournalism, the NPPA-Images- Manila, among others.