Wednesday, November 23, 2011

How Many More Must Die?

Statement of the University of the Philippines College of Mass Communication
On the second anniversary of the November 23, 2009 Ampatuan Massacre

DESPITE President Benigno Aquino III’s pledge that his administration will stop the killing of journalists, twelve have been killed since the Ampatuan Massacre of November 23, 2009 claimed the lives of 58 men and women, of whom 32 were journalists and media workers.

Neither the glacially slow trial of the accused in that massacre, nor the pledge Mr. Aquino made in his 2010 State of the Nation Address that he will “hold murderers accountable,” has made much of an impression on those who resent press attention. Not only have journalists been killed since November 2009. A number have also been threatened, sued for libel on the flimsiest grounds, barred from attending interviews and press conferences, and physically assaulted. In one of the more recent incidents, unidentified persons also burned a Catholic Church-owned radio station in Occidental Mindoro.

Mr. Aquino’s “hold murderers accountable” statement was the last he has made about the murder of journalists. He has since been silent on the subject, although he has criticized the press from time to time for its alleged bias against his administration and focus on his personal life.