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Listening Post

The Philippines: Getting away with murder

Why is the Philippines one of the world's most dangerous countries for journalists?

Last Modified: 02 Nov 2013 15:38
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On the scale of the most dangerous places around, no one would probably even think of the Philippines. But if you work in the media, it is right up there. 

Doing stories about criminal acts, illegal acts, about corruption in government or in collaboration private sector or in any other sector, it can really put you in danger, being a journalist. Sometimes journalists have been killed just for criticising a person.

Reggie Espiritu, managing editor, DZRH Radio

The country can be a murderous place to be a journalist. The exuberant free press that grew up after the fall of the Marcos regime is shadowed by political killings and attacks waged through the courts.

Violence against the media reached a dreadful peak in 2009 when 34 journalists and 24 other victims were kidnapped and shot to death as part of a political blood feud.

After the carnage at Maguindanao, President Gloria Arroyo promised there would be justice.

"The perpetrators will not escape justice. The law will haunt them until they are caught," she said.

Four years on, there have been no convictions and already this year, seven journalists have been murdered: a newspaper editor in Mindoro Oriental province; radio journalists in Mindanao, Cebu City and Kabasalan; two tabloid journalists in Manila; and a photographer in the province of South Cotabato.

So it is not just that the killings keep happening; it is that the killers escape prosecution. They murder journalists with virtual impunity.

The Manila-based Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility says there have been more than 150 media workers killed since the Marcos regime ended in 1986 - but only ten convictions.

Listening Post's Meenakshi Ravi reports on the dangers of being a journalist in the Philippines and what it means for the media. 

Listening Post can be seen each week at the following times GMT: Saturday: 0830, 1930; Sunday: 1430; Monday: 0430.

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Source:
Al Jazeera
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