Philippines Massacre Trials To Start Soon

Nine months since the massacre in which 32 journalists and

media workers were killed in Maguindanao in the southern Philippines,

justice officials have announced a trial date for 17 suspects.


As the National Union of

Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP),

an affiliate of the International

Federation of Journalists (IFJ), prepares today to observe the ninth month

since the November 23 Ampatuan town murders, Quezon City Regional Trial Court

Justice Jocelyn Solis-Reyes said the trials would begin on September 1.


The announcement led the NUJP

and the IFJ to express renewed hope for justice for the 57 victims of the

massacre, in a country where the murder and intimidation of media workers is commonly

met with impunity.


The NUJP also

reminded authorities that the victims’ families have faced a long and difficult

wait for the trial and it commended the families’ resolve in demanding justice.


“The IFJ is relieved that the trials of some of the suspects

implicated in the massacre will soon be under way, and hopes that there will be

no further delay in bringing to justice all involved in these horrific crimes,”

IFJ Asia-Pacific Director Jacqueline

Park said.


“We must keep firmly in mind that this is only the first

small step in delivering justice to the victims’ families and ending the

culture of impunity that has dominated the Philippines for many years.”


The Philippines

is one of the most dangerous countries in the world for journalists, with the NUJP reporting 140 media workers killed since 1986.


The IFJ recently delivered an action plan to the newly elected

administration of Benigno Aquino, calling on him to put an end to impunity for violence

and intimidation against journalists.


Meanwhile, the NUJP

has commenced an innovative program to establish a peer support network for

journalists who have experienced trauma as a result of their work, with the

assistance of the Dart Centre for Journalism

and Trauma.


A group of 16 journalists

participated in an initial round of training in Batangas, in the

country’s north, on August 8. The program will

equip journalists with improved skills for supporting each other when working

in traumatic situations, including reporting on conflict and natural disasters.


* The IFJ refers to at

least 57 people killed in the Ampatuan Town massacre, in the belief that 58

people were killed. The body of Reynaldo "Bebot" Momay was never found. However,

the IFJ believes he was killed. The legal proceedings against the accused refer

to 57 counts of murder, on the evidence of the number of bodies recovered.


For further information contact IFJ

Asia-Pacific on +612 9333 0919


The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 125



Find the IFJ on Twitter: @ifjasiapacific