Media and human rights workers are coming together to discuss safety mechanisms and initiatives at a forum titled, “Alerto Tayo! Safety for Media and Human Rights Workers,“ today at Novotel, Cubao, Quezon City.
“Alerto Tayo!” is a call to media and human rights workers, and to all champions of press freedom and human rights, to remain vigilant amid the continuing threats and attacks they face. Despite its strong civil society presence and vibrant media landscape, serious human rights abuses and violence against the press have continued in the Philippines, which has been identified among the deadliest countries for journalists, ranking 147th out of 180 listed countries in the 2022 edition of Reporters Without Borders’ World Press Freedom Index.
The forum is the culminating event of the Safeguarding Journalists and Human Rights in the Philippines Project (2021–2022) implemented by the Asian Institute of Journalism and Communication (AIJC) and International Media Support (IMS) with funding from the European Union.
The project sought to establish sustainable mechanisms that build and expand on the Philippine Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists (PPASJ), to contribute to the safety and strengthening of free, independent media and to improve and protect the freedom of expression environment.
Outputs include the mapping of initiatives for the safety and protection of journalists and human rights workers; “Alerto” Viber groups for quick alerts on threats and attacks; dialogues, and a learning exchange with State security forces, the media, and human rights groups; the engagement of provincial safety networks that foster collaboration among various stakeholders with the same advocacy; and conduct of safety training for journalists and human rights workers.
The forum will offer a venue for sharing the partnerships and protection mechanisms established under the project, as well as milestones and action plans in connection with the implementation of the PPASI, together with stakeholders from the media, civil society, the government, and other sectors.
UNESCO is co-funding the event, as the forum also commemorates the 10th anniversary of the “UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the issue of Impunity,” the framework under which the PPASJ was designed.