IFJ Protest Continued Violence Against Journalists in the Philippines

In a letter to the President of Philippines, the International Federation of Journalists has voiced its deep concerns over the continuing violent attacks against media workers in the Philippines. The IFJ is deeply concerned over the deaths of two journalists in two days bringing this year’s death toll of journalists in the Philippines to five, just one less than the notoriously dangerous Colombia.


Rico Ramirez a radio journalist with station DXSF of Agvsan del Sur in Mindanao Island was murdered on 20 August 2003. It is suspected he was killed by members of the drug underworld whom he criticised in his work.


The death of Ramirez came just one day after another radio journalist, Noel Villarante, was murdered outside his house in Santa Cruz City on August 19.


“The Philippines is in danger of becoming the new Colombia as one of the world’s most dangerous places to practise journalism,” said IFJ President Christopher Warren.


“The Government of the Philippines must investigate these cases immediately. The IFJ has expressed its concern to the President of the Philippines about the murder of media workers four times this year and yet the murders continue,” Warren said today.


The distressing situation where two Filipino journalists were killed in two days brings the journalist death toll in the Philippines to five this year. In Colombia this year’s toll is six journalists killed.


“A blatant disregard for the safety of journalists has manifested in the Philippines. The murder toll shows that the country is well on its way to equal if not exceed Colombia’s morbid toll unless the Government of the Philippines intervenes and ensures the perpetrators are brought to justice,” said Christopher Warren.


The IFJ has strongly urged the Government of the Philippines to launch a full investigation into the ongoing violence against media and ensure the safety of all journalists and media workers in the Philippines.


For further information, please contact Christopher Warren on +61 411 757 668.



The IFJ has protested to the Government of the Philippines in the following letter:


4 September 2003


President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo

Malacanang Palace

Republic of the Philippines

Via email: president@gov.ph


Dear President,


The International Federation of Journalists, the global organisation of journalists, representing over 500,000 journalists worldwide, is gravely concerned about the continuing attacks against media workers in the Philippines.


According to our information, Rico Ramirez, a radio journalist for DXSF in Agvsan del Sur in Mindanao Island, was killed on 20 August 2003, reportedly by members of the drug underworld he criticised in his work. The death of radio journalist Ramirez came just one day after another radio journalist Noel Villarante was murdered outside his house in Santa Cruz City. Ramirez’s death however was not officially reported until 2 September.


The distressing situation where two Filipino journalists were killed in two days brings the journalist death toll in the Philippines to five this year.


Murder and violent attacks on journalists are the worst forms of attack on press freedom and civil society. Attacks such as these must be dealt with swiftly in order to ensure press freedom in the Philippines. According to our information, no cases relating to the murder of media workers have been solved since 1986, illustrating a disturbing lack of action by the Government of the Philippines.


The IFJ urges you to mount an immediate investigation into the murder Rico Ramirez and other journalists killed in the Philippines and to bring their killers to justice as a matter of priority. We ask that you take appropriate measures to ensure the safety of all journalists in the Philippines.


The IFJ insists that your Government publicly condemns these continuing attacks on journalists. This condemnation must be carried out with urgency if journalists in the Philippines are to maintain their freedom. Finally, we urge you to take necessary actions to guarantee the safety of all journalists working in the Philippines.


Yours sincerely,




Christopher Warren

President, IFJ



Recommended action:


Send appeals:

  • Expressing deep concern over the murder of Rico Ramirez

  • Urging the Government of the Philippines to launch a full investigation into the murder as well as the pattern of journalists’ murdered over the past two decades

  • Urging the Government of the Philippines to ensure press freedom and safety of all journalists in the Philippines


    Appeals:


    President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo

    Malacanang Palace

    Republic of the Philippines


    Via email: president@gov.ph




    Please copy appeals to the IFJ Asia Office at ifj-asia@alliance.org.au


    For more information contact: Jacqui Park at ifj-asia@alliance.org.au