The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins its affiliate the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) in condemning the murder of a radio broadcaster in the southern Mindanao on Tuesday, February 16. The IFJ and NUJP demand the government and the police national media killing investigation unit, Taskforce Usig, immediately launch a full and robust investigation.
On Tuesday at 8pm, Elvis Ordaniza, a 49-year-old reporter for radio station dxWO Power99 FM was killed when he was shot twice in the chest at his home in Zamboanga del Sur as he was preparing dinner for the evening. He was rushed to hospital but died on arrival. Police are yet to establish a motive for the killing. According to Ordaniza’s colleagues, he had been reporting about the problem of illegal drugs and illegal gambling in the town of Pitogo where he worked.
Ordaniza is the country’s first media casualty for 2016. His death comes as journalists prepare to confront a traditionally dangerous period as the Philippines heads to its general and presidential elections in May. According to NUJP, 20 percent of towns and cities are declared hotspots because of the potential for violence, including areas of Mindanao. In 2009, 58 people including 32 journalists were massacred in a political convoy in the region’s Maguindanao province.
This month, the IFJ found the Philippines to be the second most dangerous country in the world for media workers between 1990 and 2015 and the single deadliest peacetime country globally. Last year, seven media workers were killed in the Philippines in targeted attacks – most were broadcasters.
The IFJ general secretary, Anthony Bellanger said: “Mindanao is a lethal region generally, but especially for media workers whose reporting puts them literally in the firing line of local warlords, criminals, corrupt business and political powerbrokers in this region. When you add the potent mix of an election season, every journalist is at risk. The media in Mindanao and across the country must be able to perform the vital duty of informing the public at this time without the threat of death.”
NUJP Chairperson, Ryan Rosauro said: “We condemn yet another colleague’s murder and demand that authorities fulfil their duty of giving him justice. We call on all our colleagues to remain committed to our duty of informing our audiences about the state of our communities and our nations as best we can. At the same time, we urge everyone, especially in this election year, to be mindful of each other’s safety, to promptly report all threats and other potential risks, and to uphold professional and ethical standards.”
While President Aquino used strong words of justice for the killings in the 2009 Ampatuan massacre in Maguindanao in his election campaign in 2000, his government has so far failed to find a single perpetrator guilty. Since then, another 37 media workers have been killed. During the last election year of 2013, the IFJ recorded 10 journalist and media worker killings in the country.
“It is critical that the Aquino government and national forces respond effectively to this killing but, judging on historic experience and the high rate of impunity in the Philippines, there is no guarantee of that. With that in mind, all media should report with their own safety firmly in mind,” Bellanger added.
The IFJ urges all journalists and media workers to remain vigilant and refer to the IFJ Election Reporting Handbook for support.
For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +61 2 9333 0946
The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 139 countries
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