Philippines Government Sits on Hands as Journalists' Death Toll Rises, says IFJ

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), the global organisation representing over 500,000 journalists worldwide is horrified by the torture and murder of the thirteenth journalist in the Philippines during 2004.

On Wednesday 1 December 2004 Stephen Omais, 23, staff writer of bimonthly community paper Guru Press in Tabuk town, Kalinga was found dead in a garbage bin with torture marks on his body. Police believe he was killed on Friday, 26 November. Omais was last seen two weeks before by his editor.

Dr. Estefania Kollin, editor of Guru Press, believes the killing is connected to the paper’s investigation into a 9 million-peso public works project in Pinukpuk town. Kollin reported that the entire paper had received death threats in relation to the story. Kollin suggested Omais was targeted due to his being the most "vulnerable".

"The Philippines is a country that boasts democracy and a free and open press. However, 12 murdered journalists in one year suggest a darker reality," said IFJ President Christopher Warren today.

"While the Philippines Government continues to sit on its hands and talk about press freedom, journalists continue to die without a single prosecution, " said Warren.

Omais is the twelfth journalist to be killed in 2004, the second in only a week and the 61st killed since 1986. A single successful prosecution is yet to be made in connection with these murders.

For more information contact Christopher Warren +61 (0) 411 757 668 or visit

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