Nine months since the massacre in which 32 journalists and
media workers were killed in Maguindanao in the southern Philippines,
justice officials have announced a trial date for 17 suspects.
As the National Union of
Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP),
an affiliate of the International
Federation of Journalists (IFJ), prepares today to observe the ninth month
since the November 23 Ampatuan town murders, Quezon City Regional Trial Court
Justice Jocelyn Solis-Reyes said the trials would begin on September 1.
The announcement led the NUJP
and the IFJ to express renewed hope for justice for the 57 victims of the
massacre, in a country where the murder and intimidation of media workers is commonly
met with impunity.
The NUJP also
reminded authorities that the victims’ families have faced a long and difficult
wait for the trial and it commended the families’ resolve in demanding justice.
“The IFJ is relieved that the trials of some of the suspects
implicated in the massacre will soon be under way, and hopes that there will be
no further delay in bringing to justice all involved in these horrific crimes,”
IFJ Asia-Pacific Director Jacqueline
“We must keep firmly in mind that this is only the first
small step in delivering justice to the victims’ families and ending the
culture of impunity that has dominated the Philippines for many years.”
is one of the most dangerous countries in the world for journalists, with the NUJP reporting 140 media workers killed since 1986.
The IFJ recently delivered an action plan to the newly elected
administration of Benigno Aquino, calling on him to put an end to impunity for violence
and intimidation against journalists.
Meanwhile, the NUJP
has commenced an innovative program to establish a peer support network for
journalists who have experienced trauma as a result of their work, with the
assistance of the Dart Centre for Journalism
A group of 16 journalists
participated in an initial round of training in Batangas, in the
country’s north, on August 8. The program will
equip journalists with improved skills for supporting each other when working
in traumatic situations, including reporting on conflict and natural disasters.
* The IFJ refers to at
least 57 people killed in the Ampatuan Town massacre, in the belief that 58
people were killed. The body of Reynaldo "Bebot" Momay was never found. However,
the IFJ believes he was killed. The legal proceedings against the accused refer
to 57 counts of murder, on the evidence of the number of bodies recovered.
For further information contact IFJ
Asia-Pacific on +612 9333 0919
The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 125
Find the IFJ on Twitter: @ifjasiapacific