Pope Francis paid homage to journalists on Sunday, May 1, ahead of the World Press Freedom Day observance on May 3.
“I pay homage to journalists who pay with their lives to serve [the right to press freedom],” said the pontiff at the end of his “regina caeli” address at Saint Peter’s Square.
Pope Francis noted that 47 journalists were killed worldwide last year, and more than 350 were imprisoned.
“Special thanks go to those who courageously inform us of the wounds of humanity,” said the pope.
The “World Press Freedom Day” or “Press Freedom Day” observance every third of May aims to raise awareness about the importance of press freedom in any democracy.
In the Philippines, President Rodrigo Duterte announced last week that he has signed a law declaring August 30 of every year as “National Press Freedom Day.”
Under Republic Act (RA) 11699 inked on April 13, August 30 of every year is declared National Press Freedom Day in honor of Marcelo H. del Pilar, the father of Philippine Journalism.
Del Pilar, who wrote under the pen name “Plaridel,” was born on August 30, 1890.
August 30 of every year is a working holiday, according to RA 11699.
To ensure the “meaningful observance and celebration” of National Press Freedom Day, all government agencies and instrumentalities, as well as the private sector, are directed to engage and participate in any related activity to be conducted on the premises of their respective offices or establishments.
The directive covers the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the Philippine National Police, government-owned and-controlled corporations, and the local government units.
RA 11699 mandates the Department of Education (DepEd), the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) to lead public and private schools at all levels in organizing consciousness-raising activities on the importance of the press and their rights and social responsibilities.
DepEd, CHED, and TESDA are also tasked to ensure that the elimination of all forms of violence against the press will also be taught.
The three departments must consult the Office of the President, government, and private media organizations with regard to the holding of activities related to the observance of National Press Freedom Day. – with a report from the Philippine News Agency