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Opinion

EDITORIAL - No letup in impunity

The Philippine Star

Of the five worst countries where journalists are murdered with impunity, only the Philippines, at fourth place, is not in a state of large-scale armed conflict. This was noted by the Committee to Protect Journalists when it released last month its latest Global Impunity Index.

The Philippines was topped in the index only by Somalia, Iraq and Syria, and was rated worse than South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Mexico, Pakistan and Russia. The 10 countries have the worst records in bringing murderers of journalists to justice. The Philippines also ranked third, behind Syria and Iraq, as the world’s deadliest countries for journalists.

In 2013, the United Nations General Assembly declared Nov. 2 as the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists. On its eve in the Philippines, another journalist was shot dead, with the killer again getting away. Radio dwIZ correspondent Jose Bernardo, who also wrote a column for the tabloid Bandera Pilipino, was murdered Saturday as he was parking his motorcycle in front of a fast-food outlet in Quezon City. Although deadly attacks on media workers are relatively rare in Metro Manila, it was the third such killing in the city.

Media groups listed Bernardo as the 32nd journalist to be murdered under the Aquino administration. The 32 are on top of the worst-ever attack on media workers in a single incident: the massacre of 58 people, 32 of them journalists, in Maguindanao on Nov. 23, 2009.

Key members of the Ampatuan clan, who were indicted as the masterminds in the country’s worst case of political violence, continue to be detained without bail, but their cases are crawling along in court.

The failure to convict anyone after six years plus the continuing murders of journalists have kept the Philippines on the list of the five worst countries in the Global Impunity Index for many years. The continuing deadly attacks have also kept the country in the “partly free” category in annual press freedom rankings for the past five years.

Media groups had wanted to observe the International Day to End Impunity on Nov. 23, the anniversary of the massacre, but the Philippine government reportedly lobbied against it before the UN. Instead the annual observance now falls on the day Filipinos dedicate to their dearly departed. Relatives and friends remembered the dead over the past two days. But the best way to honor slain journalists is to bring their killers to justice.

 

vuukle comment

BANDERA PILIPINO

CRIMES AGAINST JOURNALISTS

END IMPUNITY

GLOBAL IMPUNITY INDEX

INTERNATIONAL DAY

IRAQ AND SYRIA

JOSE BERNARDO

JOURNALISTS

METRO MANILA

PAKISTAN AND RUSSIA

PROTECT JOURNALISTS

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