Tag Archives: National Union of Journalists of the Philippines

Human Rights Watch: Philippines: Investigate Killing of Massacre Witness

(New York) – The Philippine National Bureau of Investigation should immediately investigate the latest killing of a witness to the November 2009 massacre of at least 58 people in Maguindanao province, Mindanao, Human Rights Watch said today. Human Rights Watch called on the government to act swiftly to protect witnesses and their families.

An unidentified gunman shot and killed Suwaib Upham, a witness to the Maguindanao killings known publicly as “Jesse,” shortly after 8 p.m. June 14, 2010, in Parang municipality, Maguindanao. He had agreed to testify against members of the powerful Ampatuan family, who were accused in the killings, if afforded witness protection. Three months before he was killed, Human Rights Watch had raised protection issues regarding Upham with Justice Department officials in Manila, yet the department was still considering his request for protection at the time of his killing.

Source: HRW.org

Other News:

NYTimes.com – Rights Group Says Massacre Witness in Philippines Slain

BBC News – Witness to southern Philippine massacre shot dead

Inquirer.net – Rights group hits DoJ on massacre witness’ death

Aljazeera.net – Philippines massacre witness killed

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Yahoo News: NUJP wants Noynoy to act promptly on killings

President-elect Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, who will assume the presidency on June 30, should “hit the ground running” when it comes to solving the spate of media killings in the country, a media watchdog said on Wednesday.

“Nothing makes a stronger case for our contention that there can be no honeymoon on justice for President-elect Noynoy Aquino. [He] has to hit the ground running not just on media killings but on extrajudicial murders in general,” the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) said in a statement.

“Unless it becomes clear that justice can be expected under his watch, we can kiss all his promises goodbye,” the group added.

NUJP issued the statement following the killing of broadcasters Desidario Camangyan and Joselito Agustin in Davao Oriental and Ilocos Norte, respectively.

To read the full article, please visit the Yahoo News article.


CNN iReport: Protest Broadcast 3: Cries for Slain Journalists Louder than Aggressive Ones

iReport – Protests can be riotous and lethal like the one occurring in Thailand. However there is a different kind of protest that recently took place in the Philippines. This protest condemns human rights violations and media-killings through a concert called Protest Broadcast 3. This was supported by an estimate of 20,000 individuals both of prominent personalities and ordinary citizens.

Protest Broadcast 3 served as a vehicle to cry justice for some 34 media workers who were killed in Maguindanao Massacre, south of the country. There are other 25 citizens who were killed in that massacre that happened in November 2009 that caught the world gaping.

To read the full article, please click here


Dateline: Six months after Ampatuan massacre, NUJP stages mini concert in CDO

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY- A journalist lights a candle during a mini-concert staged in the Press Freedom Monument in Cagayan de Oro City Sunday night. The concert organized by the NUJP and the Cagayan de Oro Press Club was staged in commemoration of the 6th month anniversary of the Ampatuan massacre.

A journalist lights a candle during a mini-concert staged in the Press Freedom Monument in Cagayan de Oro City Sunday night.

Edith Tiamson, whose husband, Daniel, was among 32 media workers killed in the November 23 Ampatuan massacre, which claimed a total of 58 lives, speaks at a ceremony in Manila’s Port Area hosted by the newspaper Malaya on Sunday to mark the sixth month since the mass murder

To view the full article, please visit Dateline


Pain and bloody massacre remembered in protest broadcast for Maguindanao victims

An estimated 20,000 people from all walks of life filled up to the brim Southeast Asia’s biggest closed-door Araneta Coliseum to witness in what may become the year’s biggest protest concert by media men and performing artists whose battle-cry is justice.

Protest Broadcast 3 held last May 17 was aimed at awakening the fervor and awareness of people about the bloody Maguindanao massacre which took the lives of more than 50 innocent people.  Among the total, 30 were journalists and two were media men.

Starting around 8 p.m., the concert opened with the re-enactment of the brutal slaying of the victims, moving almost everyone’s eyes to tears – some angered and pained – when reminded of the barbaric crime and assault to the human rights of the victims.  The bereaved families and the audience were visibly seen pained once again just remembering the act.

Re-enactment of the Maguindanao massacre tragedy

Local actors perform in the re-enactment of the Maguindanao massacre tragedy during the Protest Broadcast concert.

A video showing footages taken from the scene of the crime showed that the victims were on their way to the Maguindanao Provincial Capitol in Shariff Aguak town on the 23rd of November 2009 to file a certificate of candidacy for the Mangudadatu.

The convoy which included the 32 media people, with four from UNTV, was accosted by armed men allegedly led by Datu Unsay, Mayor Andal Ampatuan Jr.   Also among those killed, the wife and two sisters of the newly-elected Governor Esmael Mangudadatu, who is the political rival of the Ampatuans, were included.

Police reports revealed that the victims were directed to Sitio Masalay in Barangay Salman and were brutally murdered there.

Then last April this year, the Philippines’ Department of Justice dropped the murder charge filed against the suspected Ampatuan clans – Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Governor Zaldy Ampatuan and former Ampatuan town Vice Mayor Akmad Ampatuan – which it later overturned following increased pressure from the public.

While the prime suspects were detained, justice remains elusive.  This is one of the reasons why Razon said the cry for justice must continue to serve as a reminder of this dark chapter in the history of journalism and press freedom.  Thus, one way to open the eyes of the people could be through a concert presentation, the Protest Broadcast.

The opening number was followed by socially-awakening songs performed by some of the country’s top artists lead by Lolita Carbon of Asin band, Gary Granada, Joey Ayala and Noel Cabangon.

Broadcast journalist and UNTV news head Daniel Razon also performed during the night’s concert.  Aware of the heavy emotional bearing of the concert, Razon lighten the mood by singing songs requested by some of the prominent personalities who graced the event.

“Doing good for everyone will surely not bear evil,” is the message left by Razon to the audience, whose majority comprises members of the Ang Dating Daan.

Although Daniel Razon’s brainchild, Protest Broadcast was organized this year by the youth group Bible Readers Society International.  In the previous years, such benefit concert is titled Test Broadcast.

This year, the concert series was dedicated for the cause of human rights and media freedom.  UNTV, where four of its media men were among those killed, is also one of the lead partners together with Bread Society and advocacy group Kahit Isang Araw Lang.

Mid-way, the bereaved families of the victims especially the widow and the orphaned children were granted scholarship grants from the Manila Business College and cash proceeds from the concert.

Daniel Razon hands out the scholarship certificates.

Awarding of scholarship grants to the bereaved families of Maguindanao massacre victims

International preacher Bro. Eli Soriano graced the event through a live webcast and shared his sentiments about the injustices and human rights violations committed not only to journalists, but to a preacher like himself.

Bro. Soriano, whose popular Ang Dating Daan program is unfairly banned from airing in the Philippines, expressed optimism that the newly-elected administration will be fair to him and the congregation that he leads, the Members Church of God International (MCGI).

The concert ended with the singing of the song, “Isang Araw Lang” and the giving of the platinum award earned in just one night of the Protest Broadcast concert album. (Report by Rose Cemanes)

Local artists lend their voices to the cause of the Protest Broadcast concert.

Awarding of Platinum records to the Protest Broadcast ensemble album


CNN iReport Coverage: In media “hotspot” Philippines, justice and citizen protection remain elusive

MANILA, Philippines – Although extra-judicial killings are rampant globally, the November 23, 2009 carnage will be singled-out as the darkest in recent memory.  That single day shook the whole world by surprise and instantly made the Philippines the most dangerous place to live and to work for journalists.

International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) Gen. Sec. Aidan White said the November 23 incident is “a traumatic and horrifying incident that means all journalists must now take even greater care.”

When Filipino journalists are no longer safe in their home country, the more that this is true among civilians, said UNTV News and Public Affairs executive Daniel Razon.  In an interview with reporters, Razon added that is why “people should be informed about the reality and that we should not tolerate such to be committed.”

To read the full article, click here

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NUJP Statement – Let Us Not Forget

Exactly four months have gone by since 57 persons, 32 of them media workers, were slaughtered in the town of Ampatuan, Maguindanao, the worst single instance of political violence in our country’s recent history and the worst single attack on the press ever.

Kuya said fight for justice will continue

Saying that colleagues will rest, BMPI Chairman and CEO, Mr. Daniel Razon boomed: "this is not the end of our fight for justice. We'll continue to fight and call for justice."

Exactly four months since November 23, 2009, we find the judicial process – and we all know how agonizingly slow the wheels of justice can turn in this benighted land – stalled, the hearings on the petition for bail of principal accused Andal Ampatuan Jr. indefinitely suspended by a slew of motions filed by his lawyers.

The wholesale filing last month of multiple murder charges against 196 other suspects in the massacre has only served to highlight the reality that the judicial road to justice will be very, very long and very, very tortuous to navigate.

But recently, there have been indications of more direct efforts to subvert the justice due the victims of this most heinous of crimes.

There have been persistent reports of offers of money to some of the victims’ kin in return for the withdrawal of their complaints. Worse, there are also reports of colleagues actually succumbing to the lure of filthy lucre and sending out press releases meant to twist the facts of November 23.

We can be fairly certain that the campaign of bribery will not end there but will try to reach deeper into those in the judicial system who are tasked to dispense justice. Just as we can be fairly certain that where bribes will not work, threats and harassment will eventually be brought to bear against witnesses and their families, the victims’ kin and everyone else involved in the struggle for justice for the Ampatuan massacre.

Nor will we be surprised that these efforts will meet the covert or even overt approval of an administration whose legitimacy has long been questioned and which has depended so much on nurturing and arming warlords to keep its hold on power.

We worry that the mounting election fever as May 10 nears may mask these nefarious maneuvers.
Therefore, we call on the Philippine media community and on the Filipino people to maintain, nay, to heighten, our vigilance.

Now, more than ever, we should heighten our resolve not only to ensure justice for the victims of the Ampatuan massacre and of all media killings, but to end the culture of impunity and violence that has allowed extrajudicial killings to continue unabated.

To the kin of our fallen colleagues, we urge you to hold firm and not succumb to the pressures and blandishments of those who have caused you so much suffering. We vow to stand with you until we attain the justice we seek.

To those within our profession’s ranks who would trade the cries of justice for our slain colleagues for blood money, we urge you to change course lest you be unmasked and forever stigmatized. For we assure you, we will not and will not let anyone forget.

Today is the fourth month since the Ampatuan massacre. Today we vow once again, we will keep watch, we will not falter, until an accounting is made, not just of those involved in the carnage but, just as important, of those whose mis-governance made this outrage not just possible but inevitable.

Reference:
Nestor Burgos
NUJP Chairman
09177256333