Uson blasted over ig­no­rance of essence of press free­dom

Business World - - THENATION - Rose­marie A. Zamora

PRESS­ING ON with her of­fen­sive against a regis­tered on­line news or­ga­ni­za­tion and its re­porter as­signed to cover Malacañang and the Pres­i­dent, Com­mu­ni­ca­tions As­sis­tant Sec­re­tary Es­ther Mar­gaux “Mocha” J. Uson has come un­der fire for her ac­tions that are deemed to un­der­mine press free­dom. On Wed­nes­day, re­porters cov­er­ing the Malacañang beat as­serted in a state­ment that the long­stand­ing Malacañang Press Corps (MPC) is an in­de­pen­dent or­ga­ni­za­tion and not un­der the con­trol of the Pres­i­den­tial Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Op­er­a­tions Of­fice (PCOO) or any other gov­ern­ment agen­cies. “The MPC and its af­fairs, gov­erned by by­laws in ac­cor­dance with the con­sti­tu­tional pro­vi­sion on press free­dom,” MPC said. “The MPC de­plores any at­tempt to cur­tail press free­dom and will con­tinue to en­sure a strong free press, keep the pub­lic in­formed and the gov­ern­ment in check,” it added. Se­na­tor Grace Poe-Lla­man­zares, in a state­ment yes­ter­day, also blasted Ms. Uson. “The move to marginal­ize Rap­pler in its cov­er­age of the Palace and to de­mand the le­gal author­ity of the Malacañang Press Corps to cover the Pres­i­dent are both mis­placed and in­con­sis­tent with the essence of press free­dom and the peo­ple’s right to be in­formed of the Pres­i­dent’s ac­tiv­i­ties and pro­nounce­ments,” the se­na­tor said. “A strong and in­de­pen­dent press can only help build a vi­brant democ­racy. As part of an or­ga­ni­za­tion that prides it­self of pass­ing the first FOI (Free­dom of In­for­ma­tion) ex­ec­u­tive or­der, the PCCO should wel­come ob­jec­tive and fair cov­er­age from the press. We must re­mem­ber that even crit­i­cism is nec­es­sary if we want an open and trans­par­ent gov­ern­ment.” —

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