Anonymous lists put journalists’ lives in danger in the Philippines

Several journalists have been named on an anonymous list of purported drug personalities in two cities in the Philippines, raising serious concerns for their safety. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and its affiliate the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) have expressed serious concerns for the safety of the journalists named on the list, and called for authorities to immediately investigate.

Journalists covering the latest killing in the Philippines War on Drugs. Credit: Noel Celis/AFP

In a joint statement released by IFJ’s affiliate the NUJP, NUJP Bacolod Chapter, and Negros Press Club, the two organisations said that the composition of these lists is inconsistent and lack of logic. It indicates that those anonymous lists were prepared by conflicting parties to destroy each other and at the same time attempting to muddle their tracks by including random names.

The name written on the first of these lists tagged as “subject for neutralization”, a mild way referred to killings. This is a serious threat considering that the list had two names Rafael Atutubo and SPO4 Oscar Exaltado, who were both killed and the cases remains unsolved.

“This is unfortunate because, even as the war on drugs claimed thousands of lives all over the country, almost all of the victims were deprived of their right to due process, Bacolod City has relatively been spared the bloodshed – until recently, that is,” the joint statement said.

The country has seen numerous accusation of involvement in drugs without sufficient evidence.

The joint statement said: “We expect our authorities – both law enforcement and the civil government – uphold the rule of law and ensure the safety of all citizens, especially the innocent.We demand that they investigate and get the cowards and criminals – for what they have done is a crime – responsible for creating and spreading these lists and prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law.”

The IFJ said: “We support the media community and stand with them. The distribution of these lists is putting journalists’ lives in danger. We call for immediate action from the government to guarantee the safety of media workers in Philippines. The authorities also need to carry out a thorough investigation into the circumstances surrounding the spreading of anonymous lists through social media.”

For further information contact IFJ Asia - Pacific on 
+61 2 9333 0918

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 140 countries

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