Two Journalists Killed In The Philippines

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) decries the killing of two journalists in the Philippines.

Unidentified attackers reportedly shot and killed couple, George Vigo and Macel Alave-Vigo in the Sandawa district of the Philippines on June 19, 2006.

IFJ affiliate, the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP), reported that Vigo was a contributor to the Union of Catholic Asian News, and executive director of the People’s Kauyahan Foundation Inc, an NGO organising peace dialogues and forums.

His wife, Macel Alave-Vigo hosted a program at the local radio station, dxND.

“How many journalists have to die before the president of the Philippines takes concrete, decisive and meaningful action to stop the slaughter?” said IFJ president Christopher Warren.

It is unclear whether the murder was motivated by Vigo’s journalistic work, but the IFJ is calling for a full investigation.

“The government of the Philippines simply must do more to protect journalists and their families,” said Warren, “There can be no meaningful democracy in the Philippines without press freedom, and journalists’ safety.”

This is the sixth journalist killed in the Philippines this year and the 43rd since Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo came to power in 2001, more than those killed under the 14-year Marcos dictatorship, according to NUJP.

The Philippines was second only to Iraq in the number of journalists who died there last year.

The Philippine government has been criticised in recent weeks for passing a law permitting journalists to protect themselves by carrying arms.

“Weapons will not bring peace,” said Warren, “The idea of arming journalists in an attempt to reduce killings would be comical if the consequences were not so dire.”

“We do not need and do not want body guards or guns,” said the NUJP in a recent statement, “We do not wish to add to the bloody mayhem that has claimed the lives of so many of our colleagues.”

“The best and only way to end these killings is for authorities to relentlessly pursue, arrest, prosecute and convict the killers,” said the NUJP. “Only the surety that the guilty will be punished will dissuade those with murder in their minds.”

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

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