A bloody week start

ROSES & THORNS - Alejandro R. Roces () - August 3, 2006 - 12:00am
This week started with several assassinations that have made reporters describe the first day of the week as Bloody Monday. What makes this doubly significant is that all these happened a week after President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo vowed to put an end to political murders. The fact is that the series of assassinations against, first, journalists; second, activists, not only has not ceased but seem to be escalating.

The first question to ask, of course, is: Who is behind all these killings? Is it one person or group, or are they individual cases that are happening all over the country? We have been very concerned with the threats against journalists. What we cannot comprehend is why it is happening only to provincial journalists and in places where there are no newspapers. Are they being killed because of what they reported as newsmen or for more personal reasons? If people really have something against newsmen, the main victims will be from Metro Manila where all the major newspapers are. But Metro Manila is the safest place for journalists. No newspaper office has found it necessary to be on full alert even against general terrorists. The STAR recently had its 20th anniversary celebration and it was a very happy and peaceful occasion. No special security measures were necessary.

If a journalist is assassinated, it must be over something he wrote. So the investigation should begin with examining his writings and determining who could possibly be interested in putting a stop to his writings. So far, all the journalists that have been reported killed were hardly known. Our theory is that they were not even true journalists, but people who may have written a few articles for totally unknown newspapers. We also believe that they were killed because they were classified as activists although they may have used the press to some extent to propagate their mission.

One thing we have never figured out is why the authorities have not been able to put a stop to the assassination of newsmen and activists. It is the only thing that will put a stop to this recent rash of killings. One suspicion is that the authorities themselves may be behind the killings. But we see no basis for this suspicion. We consider it as a baseless accusation. As far as we see, most if not all the journalists and activists that were slain were totally unknown individuals. They were not persons that the general public would listen to. We pray that the killings that took place last Monday would be the very last. If indeed, we have press problems, it is not a problem that can be solved by killing unknown reporters. It is a problem that can be solved first and foremost by the press itself. We believe that the press in the country is generally under capable and responsible individuals. They believe in freedom of expression not only for themselves but for everybody. A popular saying is, "I may disagree with what you say, but will defend to the death your right to say it." True that freedom of expression rights can be abused. But we have libel laws to protect people from such abuses.

  • Latest
  • Trending
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

or sign in with