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Journalists need assurances, protection – Roque
UNITEAM senatorial candidate Harry Roque has assured the protection of journalists who are being threatened, intimidated, or harassed in their workplace for doing their jobs.
A human rights lawyer, Roque would re-file the bill to give the journalists the same protection as the witnesses if elected.
‘Yung mga peryodista, mamamahayag na may banta sa buhay, bibigyan po natin sila ng proteksiyon kapareho po ng proteksiyon natin sa mga testigo sa witness protection plan,” he said.
Roque filed House Bill No. 913 or the “Journalist Protection, Security, and Benefits Act” when he was still a congressman.
Under HB 913, journalists will have a “secure housing facility for journalists until the threat, intimidation, or harassment disappears or is reduced to a manageable or tolerable level.”
The bill defines a journalist as one “who regularly imparts information to the general public, regardless of whether he or she receives compensation for rendering such service.”
Under the bill, journalists under threat would be able to relocate and even alter their identities if necessary. Financial help is also available to the journalist and their family.
Suppose a journalist is killed while registered under the protection program; their heirs will receive a minimum of P500,000 in funeral payments.
Their children will be eligible for free education in any public or private institution from primary to university.
“A free press is a sign of a healthy and vibrant democracy. Therefore, there is a very urgent need to protect journalists and let them perform their jobs without fear of harassment,” Roque said.