De Lima seeks swift passage of journalist protection bill after murder of broadcaster

Published November 3, 2021, 9:45 AM

by Hannah Torregoza 

Opposition Senator Leila de Lima has called on Senate to expedite the passage of the proposed bill that seeks to protect journalists as she condemned the recent kiling in Davao del Sur of another journalist.

De Lima said she hopes that the killing of Orlando “Dondon” Dinoy should prompt her colleagues in the Senate to fast track the passage of Senate Bill No. 1523 or the “Journalist Protection Act of 2020” which she filed.

“As we commemorate International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists, we join the media community in condemning the brutal killing of radio anchor Orlando ‘Dondon’ Dinoy,” De Lima said in a statement.

“Another member of the media brutally slain. Another call for a prompt and impartial investigation. Another prayer, hoping that it will be the last of the killings. But it will never stop as long as impunity remains to be a state policy,” she added.

Police are still looking into the motive behind the killing of Dinoy and are now looking into the possible involvement of two or three individuals.

Dinoy is the 21st journalist killed since 2016, according to the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP).

In calling for her colleagues to pass the measure, De Lima stressed the importance of crafting laws that would protect media practitioners who risk their lives to provide the public with relevant and updated news.

“Our fight against human rights violations entails that we continue to push, vigilantly, for laws that will strengthen safety and security measures for those who are risking their lives to serve as critical voices of the people amid an environment of pervasive impunity,” the senator said.

Under the bill, media entities are required to grant additional insurance coverage and hazard pay to journalists and other media persons on field assignments.

The bill also seeks to include journalists who are assigned to cover disease-infected areas and disaster-stricken zones.

De Lima noted that under the Global Impunity Index 2021 released by the Committee to Protect Journalists in October, the Philippines remains to be the 7th deadliest in the world for journalists in terms of unresolved cases.