Media security 'vanguards' launched for 2022 polls

Published January 21, 2022, 3:43 PM

by Chito Chavez

The Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFOMS) launched of Friday, Jan. 21, a new program which seeks to protect journalists from the threats of violence, discrimination, misinformation, and corruption in preparation for the May 9 national and local elections.

Secretary Eduardo Año (DILG photo)

In the virtual launch of the “Media Security Vanguards,” Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año stressed that the media has a sacred duty to perform its tasks “that cannot be curbed by doubts, fear, harassment or intimidation to tell the truth to the people.’’

Under the said program, public information officers (PIOs) of the Philippine National Police (PNP) were assigned to ensure the safety of all journalists who will cover the elections.

Amid reports of election-related violence, Año assured that the government is taking counter steps in guarding journalists against errant groups.

In his address, Año commended the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Presidential Task Force for Media Security “for proactively working shoulder to shoulder in assuring that our truth seekers and truth tellers are protected and defended in the excellent fulfillment of their jobs.’’

In democratic countries like the Philippines, Año stated that “elections constitute a crucial point in our history’’ as it provides a platform “to amplify our voice and politics and power our restructured meaning society a better place.’’

He noted that the state must provide its citizens with the necessary information and platform to make the public make the right choices including “in the election procedures and processes during election time.’’

“Journalists are said to be the eyes and ears of everything’’ this is true before, during and after elections,’’ Año noted.

Throughout history, Año pointed out that the media keeps the citizens abreast of events concerning polls while raising awareness on various issues, shape public views and way of thinking, lay a platform for candidates to reach the public and provide unprecedented opportunities for the dialogue and interaction.

“All of these boil down to the media’s power to influence and inform the public especially now with the increased digital connectivity and media rapidly dominating the information landscape,’’ he added.

When journalists and the police work together, Año stated that “we will be able to intensify our work to stop violence and corruption during the election’’ as the PNP will be able to lay down appropriate and more effective solutions to end any threat to the work of the media.

With the journalist working closely with the PNP public information offices, Año appealed to the media to help resolve the cases and incidents by drawing the attention of appropriate authorities.

“Let us work together to prevent violence and exploitation of your job and profession/ be part of our efforts to win the people’s trust as the protector of the people the pnp has done its best to fulfill their mandate,’’ he noted.