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Notes on press freedom under lockdown



These are the slides I used in the online discussion organized by the National Society of Parliamentarians (NSP) on May 15, 2020. To watch this, please go to the Facebook page of NSP (
Cornerstone of democracy
Allows journalists to report and interpret
issues and events based on professional
and ethical standards
Allows news media organizations to
operate free from government intervention
Some elements
Editorial independence
Ensures informed, critical and empowered
D. A. Arao 2
NSP (15 May 2020)
Media accreditation for journalists and
media workers who want to go to
quarantine areas
Prohibition of journalists from privately-
owned news media organizations inside the
Malacañan Palace press briefing room
“Virtual pressers” with screened questions
Sec. 6 of RA 11469 – penalty for spreading
“false information”
Red-baiting of journalists, media groups
D. A. Arao 3
NSP (15 May 2020)
May 5, 2020
NTC’s forced closure of ABS-CBN
Killing of Cornelio Pepino, a radio journalist in
Dumaguete City
D. A. Arao 4
NSP (15 May 2020)
Chilling effect (i.e., who would be next?)
dimension of culture of impunity
An attack on one is an attack on all
Weaponization of laws
Attacks become “systematic” and “legal”
Exacerbation of impunity
Perpetuation of tyranny
D. A. Arao 5
NSP (15 May 2020)
“ABS-CBN’s problem is not related to press
freedom because it concerns violations of
the law”
“Legislative franchise is a privilege, not a
“ABS-CBN is not the only broadcast station.
There are still others.”
“ABS-CBN is still broadcasting online so
everything is fine.”
“Press freedom is alive because people are
still free to criticize.”
D. A. Arao 6
NSP (15 May 2020)
United actions (“creative” as well due to
Parliamentary (e.g., Congress, SC)
Sustained public pressure
25-year franchise for ABS-CBN; five-month
provisional franchise keeps it on a tight leash
Denounce Red-baiting
End impunity
Fight tyranny
D. A. Arao 7
NSP (15 May 2020)
D. A. AraoNSP (15 May 2020) 8
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