The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) asked the government to support a free press after the Media Workers’ Welfare was filed again in the 19th Congress.

House Bill 454 proposes media workers to entitlements to overtime pay, night shift premiums, and wages that should not be below the minimum wage in the media worker’s respective regions.

Workers should also get hazard pay and be given the right basic equipment when doing dangerous assignments. 

“CHR commends the intention of the said bill to improve the welfare and work conditions of media workers who courageously seek and report the truth despite the risks,” the commission said via a statement. 

“Upholding the dignity and labor rights of media workers is essential to the flourishing of press freedom while also enhancing the people’s right to timely and accurate information,” it added.

The CHR explained that the proposed bill can help boost the morale of media workers and may entice younger generations to choose a career in media. 

“The commission continues to call for support in defense of free press. We continue to urge the government and the public to acknowledge and defend the role of media in providing fair and accurate information that contributes to [the] durable democracy that we all deserve and aspire [to],” the CHR said.

Meanwhile, the human rights commission said it started an investigation into the death of radio broadcaster Renato Blanco in Mabinay, Negros Oriental on September 18.

The CHR asked for “speedy justice in this case and other rights violations and attacks against members of the press.”

“We call on the administration of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to extend his commitment [to] upholding human rights to the protection of the media in the country so they may carry out their work freely and safely,” the CHR said.

“Attacks against the free press impact the human rights situation in the country. We look forward to the resolution of this case, alongside other rights violations committed in the country, for the sake of justice and curbing impunity,” it added.


Ronald Espartinez