42nd Journalist Killed Under Philippines President Macapagal-Arroyo

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has backed its affiliate, the National Union of Journalists in the Philippines, and said, “enough is enough” after yesterday a radio journalist became the 42nd media worker to be killed under President Macapagal-Arroyo’s rule, the 79th since 1986, and the fifth just this year.

Palawan broadcaster Fernando "Dong" Batul was murdered on May 22, 2006 on his way to anchor his regular Bastonero program on DYPR in Puerto Princesa.

“Enough is enough. The Philippines’ government must take strong action to punish those responsible and instill protections for media workers,” IFJ president Christopher Warren said.

“How many more journalists have to die in the Philippines before the president acts to stop the senseless slaughter?” Warren asked.

Batul’s murder forms part of a particularly shocking month for journalist safety in the Philippines, with the murder of photojournalist Albert Orsolino, on May 16 in Manila, the shooting of local radio announcer Paul Manaog by unidentified attackers in Naga City on May 6, and the mauling of Iring Maranan, columnist and host of a local television program, by San Pablo City Councillor Edgardo Adajar in front of witnesses on May 16.

The deaths of 42 journalists in the five years of Arroyo’s rule is staggering, firmly entrenching the Philippines as the most dangerous country in the region for media workers.

The IFJ is dismayed by the situation in the Philippines and the inaction of the authorities regarding the attacks and brutal murderers.

“The culture of impunity and outrageously high number of journalist murders that have been allowed to occur under President Arroyo’s term leaves the responsibility for these deaths with Arroyo and her administration,” Warren said.

“Such violence against the media in an attempt to muzzle an independent press is an attack against the fundamentals of a free society and is totally unacceptable.”

The IFJ reiterates its calls on the government of the Philippines to ensure the perpetrators of these atrocious attacks are brought to justice and to instruct the police only to consider a case solved once a conviction has been made.

For more information please contact IFJ Asia Pacific +61 2 9333 0919

The IFJ represents more than 500,000 journalists in over 110 countries