IFJ Calls for Investigation into Killing of Filipino Journalist

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today condemned the killing of Filipino newspaper columnist Benefredo Acabal and called for an investigation into his murder.

“The Philippines is one of the most dangerous countries for journalists in the world,” said IFJ General Secretary Aidan White. “This is the first killing there this year but it is the 56th journalist killed murdered under the administration of President Gloria Arroyo. Her government must take a clear role in ending the violence against journalists.”

A gunman on a motorcycle shot Acabal dead in Manila on Monday night as he walked to a friend’s house, according to reports. Acabal was a columnist and publisher of the Cavite-based newspaper Pilipino Newsmen.

The IFJ called on authorities to conduct a full investigation into the killing to find the motive and bring the killer to justice.

Six journalists were killed in the Philippines in 2007, though in at least one case it is not clear if the killing was work-related. The Philippines has been one of the most dangerous countries for journalists in recent years. In 2006, at least 13 journalists and other media workers were killed there and 10 were killed there in 2005.

As a result of this violence the IFJ in cooperation with the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines established a safety office to assist local media.

“Journalists in the Philippines face many pressures ranging from legal charges to criminal threats and this has seriously affected their ability to report safely and independently,” White said. “Our colleagues have continued to work despite these attacks and we will do everything we can to support them.”

For more information contact the IFJ at + 32 2 235 2207

The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 120 countries worldwide