Philippines Army Hit List Puts Journalists’ Safety at Peril

 

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) says the Philippines

Government must immediately explain the purpose of an “Order of Battle” list

reportedly produced by the 10th Infantry Division of the Philippines Army,

based in Mindanao,

and which includes names of journalists.

 

According to the National Union of Journalists

of the Philippines (NUJP), an IFJ affiliate,

the list includes more than 100 names of people allegedly belonging to “legal

fronts” of the communist rebel movement,

including former NUJP secretary

general Carlos Conde.

 

In a public statement on May 26,

division spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Kurt Decapia said the order had been falsified

and manipulated by the congressman who discovered it.

 

“The implications of this for Mr Conde are bad enough. But we also worry

for the more than 800 members of the NUJP

nationwide, particularly those in Davao and Southern Mindanao who, because of

the 10th Infantry Division’s recalcitrance, are now endangered,” the

NUJP said in a statement on May 27.

 

“Any government-produced document that openly vilifies legal

personalities and organisations as enemies of the state has the potential to

endanger these people’s lives,” IFJ Asia-Pacific Director Jacqueline Park said.

 

“The Government of Gloria Arroyo-Macapagal must accept responsibility not

just for its silence on impunity against journalists but for actively

encouraging suspicion and violence against the Philippines media community.”

 

The failure of the Arroyo Government to intervene to end the culture of

impunity against the Philippines

media has earned the Philippines

an unenviable reputation as one of the most dangerous countries for journalists

in the world.

 

Of the seven journalists killed in the Philippines in 2008, six were murdered. Already this year, two journalists have survived murder attempts

after the fatal shooting of radio broadcaster Ernie Rollin on February 23.

 

More than 60 journalists have been killed since the President Arroyo came

into power in 2001. This is the worst media death toll under any Philippines

president, the NUJP reports.

 

The IFJ calls on regional and international affiliates and the international

media community to send messages of solidarity to the NUJP

as it continues its courageous work to uphold press freedom in the Philippines

despite the great risks.

 

Messages of solidarity may be sent to nujphil@gmail.com or ifj@ifj-asia.org

 

For further

information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific

on +612 9333 0919

 

The IFJ

represents over 600,000 journalists in

120 countries worldwide