Bishop Gerardo Alminaza of San Carlos said the Church promotes freedom of the press as he stressed the importance of truth in journalism.
“Promoting the truth is promoting life. We join the call of respecting press freedom, respecting the truth and respecting human life,” Alminaza said in a statement to mark World Press Freedom Day.
The prelate also thanked the journalists who continue to fight for the truth “amidst the darkness”.
He particularly paid tribute to journalists who were persecuted and killed for doing their jobs.
“Justice for those who were jailed and killed but continue to inspire and their witnesses shines forth amidst the darkness,” Alminaza said.
The bishop added that he is also praying for the “conversion” of those “who allowed themselves to be used to spread lies, sow fear and terror, abuse our freedom of expression, divide rather than unite for the common good”.
For its part, the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) has called for courage as press freedom is currently “under siege”.
“Let us take courage in the knowledge that no matter how despots strive to stifle freedom of expression and thought, the media, the truth, the people, will outlive them,” the NUJP said a statement.
Foreign correspondents based in Manila also urged their fellow journalists to “close ranks” amid efforts to muzzle the media in different parts of the world.
“When we lose our freedom to report the truth, everyone loses. We lose our dignity. We lose our soul,” the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines (FOCAP) said.