International and local outcries and statements on the brutal and inhumane killing of 30 journalists and media workers who were among the 57 victims of the November-23 Ampatuan Massacre in Maguindanao, Philippines.
The National Union of Journalists, Philippines hits brutal killings in Maguindanao.
IFJ Deplores Continuing Anti-Media Violence in Philippines
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) abhors the relentless disregard and disrespect toward the Philippines media community after another violent act of intimidation against a press freedom activist was reported on November 27.
According to the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP), an IFJ affiliate, three unidentified people reportedly shot at the home of Negros Press Club president and former NUJP national chairman Edgar Cadagat in Bacolod City, Negros Occidental Province. The attackers were travelling in a multi-cab vehicle and motorcycle.
Cadagat, who is a long-standing pillar of the press freedom movement in the Philippines, including during the years of the Marcos dictatorship, was fortunately not home at the time of the attack.
The NUJP has called this latest attack “revolting”.
It occurred four days after the massacre of at least 30 journalists as well as lawyers and civilians in a roadside ambush in Ampatuan town in Maguindanao Province on November 23.
“This shows that the global outcry and revolt against the massacre has not stopped the attacks and threats against journalists in the Philippines,” the NUJP said.
At least 104 journalists have been killed in the Philippines since the collapse of the Marcos dictatorship and the People Power Revolution in 1986, according to the NUJP.
Prior to the November 23 massacre, more journalists had been killed in the Philippines under the administration of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo since 2001 than under any other government in the Philippines.
“The Arroyo Government must act with the utmost urgency to end the unrelenting violence and malevolency against the Philippines journalism community,” IFJ Asia-Pacific Director Jacqueline Park said.
“The media in the Philippines has endured too many long years of violence. Last week’s atrocity must be fully investigated and all those responsible brought to justice, just as attacks such as those against Edgar Cadagat and numerous others must be investigated. This systemic violence against the media must end.”
The IFJ has called for a Global Day of Solidarity on December 9 to support colleagues in the Philippines in their quest for justice. The day of action will coincide with an IFJ international mission to the Philippines.
For more information, go to http://www.ifj.org/en/articles/urgent-ifj-philippines-appeal
URGENT: IFJ Philippines Appeal
Media suffered an unprecedented attack with the terrible tragedy that struck the Philippines on Monday 23 November 2009 . The news is unfolding on a daily basis, but the latest information today is that 30 journalists and media workers have been confirmed killed with an expectation that this will rise to at least 34, the total number of journalist and media workers reported to have set out on the convoy that was subsequently ambushed and massacred.
This is the biggest single atrocity against journalists in recent history.
The IFJ is working very closely to support our colleagues at the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) who immediately sent a mission to the scene of the massacre, arriving Wednesday. According to the NUJP 59 bodies have now been found in shallow graves, often beheaded and heavily mutilated.
Prior to this attack at least 75 journalists had been killed under the Arroyo government and only four cases have seen successful prosecutions. Outside of Iraq, the Philippines has become the most dangerous country for journalists this century.
A clear culture of impunity has been allowed to flourish under this government which must no longer be tolerated.
The IFJ is sending an international mission to Manila, 7 – 10 December, to support the NUJP, provide solidarity to journalists and the families of the victims, and to send the clearest message possible to the government that this is an outrage they will not be allowed to forget.
We need your help to reinforce this message, to demonstrate our sorrow, our anger, and our determination that such a crime will not go unpunished.
To do this the IFJ is calling on all affiliates to join a global day of solidarity on 9th December to coincide with the mission press conference on the 9th, the day before International Human Rights day.
Messages of solidarity and sympathy can be posted on this page. To view photos of solidarity actions taken by IFJ affiliates and friends worldwide, click here
Full details of the actions are enclosed in the attached documents. Please join us !
Our colleagues in the Philippines need our support. The IFJ has made a grant of 10.000 euros in emergency assistance, but more is needed.
Last week’s deadly attack on journalists in the Philippines is rooted in a culture of impunity that has become worse under the current regime, with a brutal intolerance for independent views. The shock of the recent massacre of at least 30 journalists and media workers has prompted 52 IFEX members to call on the authorities in the country to face the larger problems that restrict free expression.
An environment where violence and crime go unpunished, when the problem of impunity “festers”, results in such tragedies, says the joint action by 52 members, led by the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR), and the Bangkok-based regional Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA). “The massacre of journalists in Maguindanao staggers our community. It is a crime of such scale and horror that is incomparable to anything we have seen.” More journalists have been killed under Arroyo’s watch than under any other government in the Philippines.
The joint action is calling on the Philippine government to bring the perpetrators to justice, and rejects proposals for emergency rule and military control which would only further restrict access to information.
In a separate statement, Human Rights Watch says allegations of the involvement of security forces and local militias should be fully investigated.
Human Rights Watch says the recent massacre reveals “the failure of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s administration to hold accountable perpetrators of extrajudicial killings.” Hundreds of left-wing political party members, human rights activists, journalists, and outspoken clergy have been killed or disappeared since President Arroyo took office in 2001.
The roadside ambush and murder of relatives and supporters of Ismael Mangudadatu took place on 23 November. The group was abducted and killed in order to prevent Mangudadatu from running against Andal Ampatuan, the current mayor and a member of the ruling party. Local journalists told Reporters Without Borders (RSF) that the journalists and lawyers in the group were killed to eliminate witnesses.
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) reports that 59 bodies have now been found in shallow graves, often beheaded and severely mutilated. RSF reports that authorities have arrested Andal Ampatuan Jr, the leading suspect in the massacre and that several members of the local police have been detained.
According to the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP), an IFJ affiliate, attacks on the press continue. Three unidentified people shot at the home of Negros Press Club president and former NUJP national chairman Edgar Cadagat in Bacolod City on 27 November. Cadagat was not home during the attack.
IFJ has called for a Global Day of Solidarity on 9 December to support colleagues in the Philippines in their demand for justice. The day of action will coincide with an IFJ international mission to Manila, the capital, on 7 to 10 December.
For more information about the IFJ appeal and the IFJ Safety Fund to help the NUJP and families of the killed journalists, please see: Global Day of Solidarity