Impunity for Journalist Murders Reigns in the Philippines

The

International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins its affiliates the National

Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) today in commemorating the third

anniversary of the Ampatuan massacre in the Philippines and marks the International Day to

End Impunity by calling on governments from around the region to take immediate

action to bring an end to impunity in the Asia Pacific.

 

The 2009 massacre, which saw 58

people including 32 journalists and media workers brutally murdered, is known

as the world’s single biggest atrocity against journalists. The date was

declared as the International Day to End Impunity in 2010.

 

As

part of a joint campaign, on November 22nd the NUJP and the IFJ sent a delegation to

meet with the Philippines Justice Secretary Leila De Lima and present a joint

letter, addressed to President Aquino, which highlighted the lack of justice in

the massacre trial and the situation of impunity in the Philippines. See: http://asiapacific.ifj.org/en/articles/letter-to-president-benigno-s-aquino-iii-ampatuan-massacre-why-no-action 

 

Of the 153

journalists murdered in the Philippines since 1986, 14 have been murdered

during President Aquino's term of office. 

 

During

the meeting, the NUJP and IFJ called on the government of the Philippines to

fulfil its positive obligations under international law and to live up to the commitments

made by President Aquino’s during his inauguration to take action against impunity.  The delegation represented the victims’

families need for transparent justice and the urgent need for an end to the

protracted court hearings.

 

The IFJ

and NUJP urged the Administration to prosecute those involved in the massacre

and put an end to the protracted court case before the 2013 elections. It was

the culture of impunity that created the environment in which the Ampatuan

massacre took place before the 2009 election. 

 

More

than 1000 days after the massacre, 99 of the 197 suspects remain free. Of the

81 police, militiamen and government officials arraigned for the crime, only

two are Ampatuans. Witnesses have been murdered and there have been no

convictions.

 

Today, in a show of solidarity, journalists, press freedom advocates and

families of the slain victims of the Ampatuan Massacre led a processional march

of 153 coffins through the Welcome Rotunda in Quezon City to Mendiola, Manila, each

bearing the name of a journalist killed in the massacre. A funeral procession is

also being held in General Santos City with six coffins paraded around the

city, to the Forest Lake Memorial Park, where most of the victims were laid to

rest.

 

Union affiliates and

partners from around the region joined in solidarity to commemorate the

anniversary of the massacre today and call for an end to impunity.  In Australia, Journalists and the Media

Entertainment and Arts Alliance ACT branch president, today met with the

Philippines Ambassador in Canberra to present a letter from the Alliance calling

for the Philippines government to take action against impunity and members of

The South Asia Media Solidarity Network Members presented letters to the

Philippines embassies throughout the region calling for action. 

 

The IFJ stands alongside

the NUJP today to demand that the government of the Philippines fulfil its

obligations under international law and to ensure that justice is expedited in

a transparent manner to send a clear signal that violence against media

workers, and defenders of free expression will not be tolerated.



The IFJ

represents more than 600,000 journalists in 131 countries

 

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the IFJ on Twitter: @ifjasiapacific

 

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