Proposed Bacolod Press Freedom Day Ordinance Okd on 1st Reading
The Bacolod Sangguniang Panlungsod (SP) approved on first reading last August 2, 2017, a proposed ordinance authored by Councilor Wilson Gamboa, Jr., declaring the Third Day of May as Press Freedom Day in the Bacolod.
The Gamboa Proposed Ordinance defines Press or Media as communication channels through which news, entertainment, education, data, or promotional messages are disseminated; these include every broadcasting and narrowcasting medium such as newspapers, magazines, TV, radio, billboards, direct mail, telephone, fax, the internet blogs and social media.
Citing the United Nations (UN) General Assembly declaration of World Press Freedom Day (WPFD) in 1993 and following the recommendation of the 26th session of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) General Conference in 1991, the Gamboa Proposed Ordinance is a reminder that the freedom of the press is a constitutionally-guaranteed right and is enshrined in Section 4 Article Ill of the Constitution which explicitly provides that, “No law shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech, of expression, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances.”
Said Gamboa Proposed Ordinance likewise read that the press and media has been a dynamic partner of government in informing the public of its official functions, programs and projects the malfeasance or nonfeasance of a public officer or employee; the press has been described as the “Fourth Estate” many centuries ago because of its huge task far more important than the established institutions in a democratic government.
WPFD is celebrated yearly on May 3 in recognition of the fundamental human right to free expression and press freedom; it is a reminder for everyone to reflect on the issues affecting journalists and media practitioners around the world - among these are media ethics and responsibility, safety, and the culture of impunity - which is equally relevant to every citizen as they are too journalists.
Meantime, said Proposed Ordinance tasked the City Information Office (PIO) to lead the May 3 observance is the City Information Office (PIO) by assisting members of the working press and or the media in organizing and implementing socials, sports, cultural activities and other events deemed applicable, relevant, memorable and colorful “Bacolod City Press Freedom Day”.
It also provides that City Government acknowledge independent media organizations or associations by accrediting them as Peoples Organization (PO) worthy of any assistance and government intervention as allowed by law and that such accreditation shall be processed and approved in accordance with the existing rules and regulations of the Sanggunian Panlungsod (SP).
The Proposed Ordinance read that the City shall allocate an annual budget of Php 300,000.00 from the General Appropriations Fund.*