Philippine Journalists Raise Alarm Bells Over Increased Media Killings
Twenty One Journalists Killed Under Aquino the Worst since 1986
By Edwin C. Mercurio
Toronto, Canada - The Philippines is considered one of the most dangerous regions for practicing journalists with 21 killed under President Benigno Simeon Aquino 3rd. The country is second only to Syria in terms of media killings. Pakistan and Somalia come close to Syria in terms of threats to the lives of journalists followed by India and the Philippines.
Reporters Without Borders recently released its 2013 report saying that a total of 71 journalists have been murdered while performing their duties.
Journalists’ organizations spearheaded by the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) are expressing their anger over the spate of journalist killings.
“Killings under the Aquino administration now stand at 21, the worst incidence rate under any presidency since 1986 (excluding 32 journalists killed in the Ampatuan Massacre). The apparent apathy of the government towards killings and attacks against press freedom emboldens attackers to inflict harm as they go unpunished.”
NUJP explained that “When journalists are harmed and silenced, the people's right to know is put on the line. The killings and attacks therefore have to end.”
The NUJP statement further states “Three media colleagues were murdered just recently: Rogelio Butalid (Tagum City, Davao del Norte, Dec. 11), Michael Milo (Surigao del Sur, Dec. 6) and Jonas Dignos (Bukidnon, Nov. 29). This is reason enough to rage.”
Media groups affiliated with NUJP have joined the chorus of protests and online rage against the continued killings of journalists in the Philippines by changing their Facebook profiles and cover pictures to black by tomorrow December 20.
“Online, we plead everyone to join us in changing our profile and cover pictures to black, in unity with our call. Share and repost this image and tag as many people as you can. On blogs and over social media, initiate and join discussions on how attacks against free press affects everyone, and what can be done to mitigate these,” the statement said.***