Journalists and media organisations around the world have joined the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) in calling on the Philippines government to take action to address the terrible press freedom and journalist safety situation in the Philippines.
The global call comes after newspaper editor Hernani Pastolero Sr was gunned down outside his home on February 19, becoming the 50th journalist to be murdered under the reign of the current Philippines government, led by President Gloria Macagapal-Arroyo.
“This horrific record has given the Philippines the unwelcome title of second most dangerous country in the world for journalists, after war-torn Iraq,” IFJ President Christopher Warren said.
“The IFJ is not only deeply concerned by the shockingly high number of journalists who are murdered each year, but also by the apparent lack of political will to find those responsible for these killings and bring them justice,” said the president of the IFJ, the organisation representing more than 500,000 journalists in over 115 countries.
“The Philippines government can no longer ignore this terrible record and we join our colleagues around the world in demanding an end to the culture of impunity which has flourished under the Arroyo administration,” Warren said.
“It is time for the government to show the international community that the Philippines protects its citizens, punishes criminals, and values press freedom and democracy,” he said.
Supporting a campaign by IFJ affiliate, the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP), representatives from more than 20 organisations in 14 countries, including Nepal, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, India, East Timor, Uganda, Congo, Croatia, Belgium, Norway, Australia, and the United States, delivered protest letters to the Government of the Philippines and to their local Philippines consulates today.
In a sign of solidarity, affiliates from around the world also wore black to mark this day of action, which falls on the eve of the sixth anniversary of the first journalist to be killed since President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo came to power.
Locally, the NUJP is holding coordinated events across the Philippines today ranging from discussions on the dangers of journalism to protest marches, including the Walk for Press Freedom.
“The IFJ gives its full and unconditional support to the NUJP in their campaign for an end to the culture of impunity and journalist killings, and we stand in solidarity with our Filipino colleagues in their fight for a safe, free and independent media,” Warren said.
“This has gone on for too long, and far too many lives have been wasted, for the government to continue to remain idle,” said the IFJ president in his letter to the Philippines government.
For further information, and to download a protest letter to send to the Philippines government, please visit www.ifj-asia.org.
For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific +61 2 9333 0919
The IFJ represents over 500,000 journalists in more than 115 countries