3 May 2019

May 3 is World Press Freedom Day. The spirit that spurred the international community to celebrate the fundamental principles of press freedom is the same spirit that spurred me in championing freedom of information from my time in the House of Representatives until now. In the words of UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, “No democracy is complete without access to transparent and reliable information.”

World Press Freedom Day is an important reminder for us specially during these times when the very institutions that should promote, protect, and fulfill our right to express and to information is the same institution that induce artificial darkness that clouds national consciousness. These are the times when they would rather shoot the messenger than pursue critical leads like the First Family’s drug involvement. These are the times when they would rather lock down legitimate news outlets than shut down those that purvey fake news. These are the times when the Presidential Spokesperson himself is of questionable character, untrustworthy, and devoid of sincerity in his dealings with the media and the general public.
World Press Freedom Day is an important reminder of our duty and our power to defend the likes of Maria Ressa and countless journalists who were harassed, threatened, and even killed by forces who are not comfortable with and does not recognize media independence.
World Press Freedom Day is an important reminder that we should pay tribute to those who lost their lives in the line of duty.

LORENZO ‘ERIN’ TAÑADA III is the former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives. He either authored or pushed for bills that helped improve the working and living conditions of Filipino workers and farmers and their families. Some of the more significant legislative measures advocated by Erin were: Peoples’ Survival Fund, Universal Healthcare Act, Condonation of SSS Penalties on Delinquent Contributions, among others. He intends to champion a nationwide minimum wage standard, apart from the Coco Levy Fund, when elected to the Senate.