An international emergency mission led by the International Federation of Journalists has arrived in the Philippines to support local journalists and the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) in the wake of the November 23 massacre in Maguindanao Province, Mindanao, in which at least 30 journalists and media workers were killed. The delegation comprises representatives from leading journalists’ rights and press freedom organisations including the IFJ, the Southeast Asia Press Alliance (SEAPA), the Committee for the Protection of Journalists (CPJ), the Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI), the Media Entertainment & Arts Alliance, the Thai Journalists’ Association (TJA), International News Safety Institute (INSI), International Media Support (IMS), the Institute for Studies on the Free Flow of Information (ISAI) and Union Network International (UNI). The mission, organised at the request of the NUJP, an IFJ affiliate, will visit General Santos City and Manila to meet the families of victims, the local media community, lawyers and government authorities and officials. The delegation is expected to meet a representative of President Gloria Arroyo on Wednesday (December 9) to press home international and local demands for a full and credible investigation into the massacre of at least 57 people in all. On the same day, the IFJ has called for all its affiliates and partner organisations across the world to join a Global Day of Solidarity in support of the Philippines media community. The international mission will take into account the findings of an independent fact-finding report prepared by the NUJP with the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) and members of the Freedom Fund for Filipino Journalists (FFFJ), and the Mindanao-based news agency Mindanews, who conducted their own inquiries in Mindanao last week. The fact-finding team verified that of the 57 people known to have been killed on November 23, 30 were journalists and media workers. Another media worker remains missing. The list of media fatalities is available here. “The massacre claimed nearly an entire generation of journalists from the small print and broadcast communities of General Santos, Koronadal City, and nearby areas,” the report said. “At least 22 of the 31 named media personnel were married and had children, indicating an enormous need for continuing humanitarian assistance.”
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