IFJ Demands Philippines Brings Killers to Justice As Media Death Toll Mounts

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today called upon the Philippines to establish an independent inquiry over the failure of the authorities to prosecute suspects in the investigation of the murder of 55 journalists in the country.

In a nationwide protest today journalists across the Philippines wore black and participated in protest rallies organized by the National Union of Journalists and IFJ affiliate to protest at the continued failure of the Philippines Government to prosecute anyone arising from the total of 55 journalists killed since 1988.

"Despite attempts by the Government of the Philippines to curb the rising death toll, the message does not appear to be getting through," said IFJ President Christopher Warren. "It is time a strong and simple message was sent to all -- that shooting journalists will not be tolerated and those who commit these crimes will be found and brought to justice."

The IFJ and the NUJP renewed the call for an independent inquiry following the murder of Fernando Consignado and the shooting of Edward Balida last week. Consignado, a reporter on community affairs for Radio Veritas was found dead at his home in Nagcarlan, from a single gunshot wound to his head on 12 August 2004. Colleagues have suggested his death is linked to his expose of anomalies in community projects in Nagcarlan. Police are also looking into the possibility of a connection to a land dispute with relatives. On 13 August, Balida, commentator for radio station IFM-DXVR in Valencia City, was shot at a public market while parking his motorcycle. He says the attack was connected to his reporting on drugs.

Consignado was the sixth journalist to be killed this year. Seven were killed last year. "The toll continues to mount and the failure to bring people to justice now stands as a shocking indictment of the authorities. It is time for this to change."

For further information please contact Christopher Warren +61 411 757 668

The IFJ represents over 500,000 journalists in more than 100 countries.