PH ranks fifth in global impunity index for journo killings
THE National Union of Journalists of the Philippines on Thursday scored the Duterte administration for letting media killings go unpunished.
The NUJP statement came as the 2017 report of the Committee to Protect Journalists ranked the Philippines fifth in the world in terms of impunity when it comes to killing journalists.
“The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines commemorates International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists today, Nov. 2, with sadness but with an undimmed sense of determination to help end media killings in our country and the whole world and bring perpetrators to justice,” the NUJP said in a statement.
“Impunity exists to this day under the Rodrigo Duterte government, which is not doing any better than his predecessors. In fact, he himself justified the killings of journalists that contribute to the fact journalists are still being attacked and killed,” the group added.
The “Getting Away with Murder: 2017 Global Impunity Index” also noted that no convictions have been achieved despite the formation of a task force on media killings.
Just last week, broadcaster Christopher Lozada was gunned down near his house in Bislig City, Surigao del Sur, the group said.
While Duterte has formed a Presidential Task Force on Media Security under Administrative Order No. 1, which now tries to investigate media killings and harassment—“the fact remains however that media killings and crimes against journalists are still happening, as evidenced by five media workers killed under the current government on top of murder attempts and harassment against media workers.”
The group also underscored the lack of convictions following the bloody Maguindanao massacre, after Andal Ampatuan Sr. escaped court judgment by dying before defense witnesses could even be presented.
“The fact that no one has yet been convicted nearly eight years after the massacre underscores the fact impunity reigns in this country,” the NUJP added, noting the murder of 32 journalists [along with 26 other civilians] on Nov. 23, 2009 in Ampatuan, Maguindanao Province, was the single deadliest event for journalists in the world.
The patriarch’s son, Sajid Islam Ampatuan, who was Maguindanao governor at the time of the massacre, was granted bail by the Court of Appeals in January 2016, just in time for the election campaign where the younger Ampatuan ran for mayor of Shariff Aguak.
“We still demand that President Duterte order a stop to media killings and impunity in this country. He can start by not encouraging others to kill journalists and determinedly prosecuting those charged once and for all,” the NUJP said.
The CPJ report said the Philippines has had 42 unsolved cases “with complete impunity” in the past decade, adding that local journalists outside the capital covering politics, corruption, business and crime are mostly targeted—including Duterte critic broadcaster Jun Pala, who was gunned down in 2003, the March 2017 shooting of reporter Joaquin Briones and the killing of tabloid reporter Rubylita Garcia, who was shot dead by armed men outside her home in Bacoor, Cavite.
“Justice has not advanced for the 2009 Maguindanao massacre victims, among them 32 journalists and media workers,” CPJ said.
CPJ’s top 12 countries in terms of impunity against journalists are the following: Somalia, Syria, Iraq, South Sudan, Philippines, Mexico, Pakistan, Brazil, Russia, Bangladesh, Nigeria and India.
The New York-based group is an independent, non-profit organization that calculates the number of unsolved journalist murders as a percentage of each country’s population.
It examined unsolved journalist murders that occurred from Sept. 1, 2017 until Aug. 31, 2017.